Wisconsin Capitol Police Arrest Journalist, Teenage Girl, Elected Official And Grannies At Protest

Police arrest a protester inside the Wisconsin Capitol for singing without a permit on Thursday, Aug. 1, 2013, in Madison, Wi
Police arrest a protester inside the Wisconsin Capitol for singing without a permit on Thursday, Aug. 1, 2013, in Madison, Wis. Police started a crackdown on people gathering without a permit last week and have issued more than 120 tickets since then. (AP Photo/Scott Bauer)

Police in Madison, Wis., arrested an alderman, three grandmothers, a teenage minor and a journalist on Thursday during a protest at the state Capitol.

In total, 22 citations were given out on Thursday, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported. The gathering was a "Solidary Singalong," one of daily protests against Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker that have been ongoing since he signed a controversial union-busting law.

Last month, a federal judge granted a temporary injunction to allow groups of under 20 people to gather in the Capitol's rotunda (where the singing takes place) without permits. However, larger groups still technically require a permit, and police are cracking down, reportedly arresting people as old as 85.

According to the Capital Times, Capitol police arrested a 14-year-old girl and three members of the Raging Grannies, a progressive singing group that has become a staple of the Madison protests. Mark Clear, an alderman from Madison's west side, also became the first elected official to face arrest, according to The Progressive. Lisa Subeck, another alder who was with Clear, told Isthmus that they had just arrived at the building when the arrest took place.

"They're arresting more and more people," Subeck said in an interview with Isthmus. "I don't know if it's because they're getting more efficient at it or if they're trying to intimidate more people."

Police also arrested Matthew Rothschild, the editor of The Progressive, a left-wing magazine based in Madison. He wrote about the incident for the publication's website after being released from custody. Rothschild said he was taking notes of his surroundings, interviewing demonstrators and taking photographs of the arrests when an officer allegedly arrested him without warning.

"The court date is Sept. 23 at 10:00 a.m., where I will plead not guilty on the basis of the First Amendment," Rothschild wrote.

CORRECTION: A previous version of this article implied that a federal judge gave police the power to make arrests at the state Capitol. Police have chosen to enforce a permit requirement, but the federal judge's ruling did not explicitly grant police the power to arrest protesters.



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