Protests that have consumed Wisconsin's state Capitol are similar to the heated pro-democracy demonstrations in Cairo, Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan (R) said Thursday. 

Large crowds of public workers have descended on Madison, the state capital, to voice their opposition to Republican Gov. Scott Walker's plan to make them pay for their health insurance and pension benefits and take away collective bargaining rights for some.

Ryan said the demonstrators are reminiscent of the crowds that forced Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak out of power, even though he praised Walker's plan.

"He's getting riots. It's like Cairo's moved to Madison these days," Ryan said of Walker on MSNBC. "It's just — all of this demonstration. It's fine, people should be able to express their way. But we've got to get this deficit and debt under control."

Ryan is not the first GOP lawmaker to invoke the Egyptian protests to make a political point. Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas) this week compared the Tea Party movement to what's going on in Egypt.

Unlike the protests in Madison, the Egyptian protests have not been entirely peaceful. Several demonstrators have died and several journalists were attacked, including CBS News's Lara Logan, who was physically and sexually assaulted.


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-- This post was updated at 1:53 p.m.