UPDATE (WKOW) – Police warned a larger crowd Thursday at the Capitol.
Arrests are happening right now, in day two of the arrests.
MADISON (WKOW) — Capitol Police arrested 22 people – three of them twice – for participating in the Solidarity Sing-along Wednesday afternoon.
The arrests come a few weeks after a federal judge ruled the Department of Administration can require permits for events with more than 20 people.
“Participants do not move outside or disperse, they will be subject to arrest,” announced a Capitol Police Sergeant when the Sing-along started.
Capitol Police issued two verbal warnings and one written one that the event was unlawful, but that didn’t phase the singers who kept right on belting out protest tunes. After 20 minutes, police started cracking down.
“I was charged with violation of Section 214v2 of the administrative code – no permit. The fine is $200.50,” said Jason Huberty, who’s penalty was the same one handed out to the other arrested protesters.
The singers were released after getting the citations. Many came right back into the rotunda and started singing again. Three of them, including Huberty, were then arrested for a second time in less than 30 minutes.
“He asked me if I would leave and I said No, I wasn’t ordered,” said Huberty, referring to a police officer.
Democratic lawmakers in attendance call the arrests a tremendous overreach.
“Well, I’ve been to Moscow and I’ve felt safer in Moscow than I do in our own State Capitol. I’m terribly offended that some people think that singing is some kind of terrible offense,” said Sen. Bob Jauch (D-Poplar).
No one from Capitol Police or the Department of Administration would do an interview, but DOA Spokesperson Stephanie Marquis put out the following statement: “Judge Conley ruled several weeks ago that the State’s permit process is constitutional. The Capitol Police are upholding the law to ensure the building can be shared by all citizens who come to the Capitol.”
But the protesters who were arrested say they will be back on Thursday, with likely more people supporting them.
“Its kinda cool,” said arrested protester Bill Dunn. “People standing up for free speech.”