The Capitol Police have decided to magnanimously allow tourists and others at the state capitol in Madison to watch the Solidarity Singers without fear of arrest.
The arrest earlier in the week of state Rep. Sondy Pope (D-Cross Plains), who was observing the singers, apparently led to a “re-evaluation” of the policy.
I am not sure which is funnier, seeing the tourists identify themselves as such with special Capitol Apparel (AP Photo) declaring “TOURIST Do Not Arrest” on fancy orange vests, or reading that Scott Walker’s
Gestapo Department of Administration would not respond to Wisconsin State Journal requests asking what authority the state had to issue citations for watching a demonstration.
Undeterred by the stonewalling, the newspaper quickly sought expert opinion on the matter:
UW-Madison political science professor Donald Downs said the right to listen is an inherent part of the First Amendment protection of free speech.
“As long as the people that are watching are not joining in and are not contributing to a problem of the Capitol being able to conduct its business, they have a right to be there,” Downs said.
A veteran from Orfordville, in town Wednesday for a Veterans for Peace convention, was filming the noontime Solidarity Singalong when police told him to “either leave the building or face arrest:
He told them he wasn’t a part of the group, but police said anyone in the vicinity of the singalong was part of what had been declared an unlawful event.
Take that, pesky First Amendment!! You are offensive to the sensibilities of the Walker Administration.