For the second straight day, Capitol Police on Thursday arrested protesters of Gov. Scott Walker who have long defied his administration’s permitting rules during noontime singalong rallies in the statehouse rotunda.
Following Wednesday’s arrest of 22 demonstrators, the numbers in the rotunda for the Thursday singalong appeared to at least double. Roughly 120 people sang, and many others looked on or stood by in support, with the mood of the crowd more electric and defiant than the day before.
Police issued 26 citations Thursday for participating in an event without a permit. Additionally, one person was charged with disorderly conduct, another was charged with resisting arrest and a third person was charged with both disorderly conduct and resisting arrest.
The demonstrators sang union and civil rights songs such as “Eyes on the Prize” and never stopped, despite the steady stream of arrests.
Here’s a photo (courtesy of the Overpass Light Brigade) of the Capitol Police dragging a woman they had arrested who recently had hip surgery and needed to use crutches but was not allowed to by officers.
What’s truly stunning about the Capitol Police arrests over the past two days is that the same legislators who have allowed firearms in our State Capitol have made it illegal for citizens to gather, sing songs of protest, and exercise their First Amendment rights.
Those are some ass-backwards priorities, but as Charles Pierce noted for Esquire, Walker and his toadies aren’t concerned with public safety or preserving rights; they’re only concerned with not making Walker look bad.
This has nothing to do with public safety. I’ve been in that rotunda. It’s huge. You could bring in Up With People, and there’d still be room for the daily business of selling Wisconsin off wholesale to get done around them. This is about inconveniencing a guy who wants to run for president based on his record of selling Wisconsin off wholesale. This is about video he doesn’t like and people who harsh his mellow. Which happens to be what the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, and Article I of the constitution of what once was the state of Wisconsin, are all about, too.
Here’s some video of the Capitol Police arresting the Solidarity Singers for the crime of singing and exercising their first amendment rights in the State Capitol.
This is Wisconsin, not some two-bit tinpot dictatorship, and this kind of thing shouldn’t be happening in our fair state.