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Police Arrest Demonstrators at State Capitol

Peter Gorman

Officers handcuffed about 20 protesters at the Capitol on Wednesday and cited them, as the Walker administration enforces rules regarding demonstrations.

A hard-core group of protesters, sometimes called the 'Solidarity Singers' has gathered almost every day at the Capitol for more than two years, to sing songs critical of the administration. Their demonstrations followed the massive protests there in early 2011 against cuts in public union rights.

The administration eventually adopted rules regarding organized demonstrations, saying it had to maintain order in the building. One rule required groups of more than three people to obtain a permit in order to rally.

Several parties sued, including the ACLU of Wisconsin, claiming the policy violates citizens' rights of free speech and assembly. Federal Judge William Conley recently ruled, that at least until a court hearing in January, the state can only require groups of 20 or more people to obtain a permit.

Capitol police and state troops warned the protesters today to disperse, but when they refused, began making arrests.

Twenty-two received citations for not having a permit. One person at the Capitol was cited for disorderly conduct for allegedly spitting at a singer.