Day 12 of Mass Arrests for Singing in Wisconsin’s Capitol Building

Update:    22 municipal citations and 1  misdemeanor charge were handed out.

The editor of The Progressive magazine was arrested:  “Matt Rothschild was arrested by Capitol police on a misdemeanor obstruction and resisting arrest charge and released on $300 bail after photographing the arrests of other demonstrators singing in the rotunda. Rothschild said he didn’t comply with an officer’s order to move from the area of the arrest but did identify himself as a working journalist.”  source: Milwaukee Journal Sentinel


Today August 15, 2013 is the 12th day of mass arrests of singers in Wisconsin’s Capitol Building where over 200 citations have been given out since July 24th, primarily for assembling without a permit.  

Isthmus reported that today a Madison alder was arrested and  Greg Gelembiuk observed that only an average of 20 participants were involved throughout the day’s singing on the rotunda floor.  Several Raging Grannies were arrested and word has it that a 14-year-old and 16-year-old were also arrested.


Photo Credit: Leslie Amsterdam

I do not have total arrest numbers at this time – I’ll update this post when I get those.

From The Isthmus:

A number of Madison alders ventured to the State Capitol on Thursday to show support for the Solidarity Sing Along. Ald. Mark Clear, a former president of the Common Council, was arrested for participating in the event.

“An officer walked up to me and said I was participating in an illegal event and told me to immediately disperse,” said Clear, who was reached by phone. “I politely declined.”

Clear said he was finishing a rendition of “This Land is Your Land.”

From Greg Gelembiuk:

At the point when unlawful assembly was declared today (Aug. 15) via LRAD, shortly after noon, I was trying to do an exact count of participants. It was still early in the hour, so some people hadn’t arrived yet. I counted 17 people who were actually “participating” (i.e. I counted everyone who was either singing, or clapping along, or holding a sign). I’m sure I could have missed one or two, but it appeared that it wasn’t even 20 unless observers/spectators were included in the count.

When I was approached by CaPo (which always occurs early for me – after about two songs or so), I decided to withdraw today (I want to space out my citations). Tried to hand a carnation to the officer who approached me. Though he didn’t take it, it did cause him to crack a smile.

Observed from second floor thereafter, for most of the hour. Tried to keep a running tally of the number of participants (as defined above). I had a pretty clear view. Potentially could have missed a couple people standing right below me, but I tried to lean out over the railing to get as good a view and count as possible. I made sure to count not just those in the circle, but people standing back near the columns.

At one point early on, after some arrest, it was down to 13.
Then ranged from 20 to 28.
After the grannies were arrested, the number of people participating was down to 17.
Then it slowly rose up to 25, then declined a bit to approximately 20.
After some more arrests, it was down to about 11. Then more arrests occurred at that point (i.e. out of the approximately 11 participants).
Then it rose to 15-16, then back up to approximately 20. Stayed around there until the final song, when more people joined in – because I came back downstairs to participate in that, don’t have a good count for it – I would guess over 30.
I would say the mean number participating over the course of the hour was 22-23.

The exact language of Conley’s injunction is “defendants are enjoined from enforcing the content-based distinction found in § 3.J and the permitting requirement generally, as applied to events in the Capitol that are anticipated to attract 20 or fewer persons.”


Footnote: I didn’t make it to the Wisconsin Capitol building’s noon sing.  I had to rely only on other sources for this post. 

More reading (includes a timeline from day 1):

Eleventh day of mass arrests in the Wisconsin Capitol. Celebrities take notice.


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