Confrontation at Merrill rally to recall Holperin - WAOW - Newsline 9, Wausau News, Weather, Sports

Confrontation at Merrill rally to recall Holperin

By Kristen Rietz - bio | email | Twitter | Facebook

MERRILL(WAOW)-- Emotions ran high as ralliers took to the Lincoln County Courthouse, calling for the recall of Democratic State Senator Jim Holperin,  one of the 14 senators who fled the state more than three weeks ago.

Organizers say the rally was originally scheduled at Club 64 in Merrill, but they had to change locations after business owners say they received more than 50 phone calls threatening to destroy their business and cause physical harm if the rally took place.

Protestors both for and against the recall showed up.  Even though they initially kept their distance, Holperin supporters engulfed the recall effort, and that's when the situation turned tense.

"They circled around us, and they're bullying us.  They have a loud horn and they're trying to intimidate people that would like to come and sign the petition," said Kim Simac, recall leader, "I do think that this is an intimidation ploy."

Simac says protestors even got involved with their petitions.

"We had a lady come up and write profanity and rip some of them right on our table.... so I guess that's what democracy looks like to them."

Holperin supporters say while a few people may have taken things too far, that wasn't their reason for showing up.

"Someone did do it, that is not what we're here for. That's not what our mission is here, it's just to keep the peace and also get our word out," said Kevin Koth, Holperin supporter.

Koth says they ultimately want to make sure unions are represented.

"We're here on a peaceful protest. We don't want to get into controversy with the supporters of the recall for Jim Holperin, but we are here to keep the peace and do our demonstrating."

Something both sides say they will continue.

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