After a summer of Solidarity Sing Alongs and high profile arrests, Gov. Scott Walker and the Department of Administration dropped the requirement for groups larger than 20 to get a permit before gathering at the Capitol.
Under the lawsuit settlement between the DOA and the American Civil Liberties Union, protesters are allowed five days of demonstration if they give the DOA notification of the protests two days in advance.
The arrests included a Madison journalist, a 14-year old girl, elderly women and a Madison city alder.
Arrestees were fined $200.05 for protesting without a permit, or in some cases, holding a sign. Arrestees were then handcuffed with zip ties and taken to the Capitol basement.
While protesters were arrested, others continued to sing or shouted “shame” at officers.
“This is not America. We used to have rights in America. We used to have rights in Wisconsin,” one protester said as police handcuffed him.
DOA spokesperson Stephanie Marquis said the permit requirement was enacted in 1979 and is not a recent decision from the Walker administration.
Marquis added the permits, which were available online for free and were issued regardless of political ideology, nature or content.
Rep. Melissa Sargent, D-Madison, said the settlement was a step in the right direction, but the specifics in the requirement were too unclear.
“Where does 12 come from?” Sargent said. “I have six people in my family and if I were to join another family and someone has a button on, or wearing a t-shirt, or holding a sign, would that open us up [to citations]? I’m not sure.”