Walker forced to back off from arresting observers of Solidarity Sing Along
In Wisconsin, the Department of Administration has now released a statement that observers of the Solidarity Sing Along will no longer be arrested or threatened with arrest. Videos of tourists being threatened with arrest, and complaints from legislators who were threatened with arrest for merely observing the Sing Along, have proven an embarrassment to Walker.
Prior to today, not only were non-participants at the Capitol warned of possible arrest, but in some cases they were actually arrested.
Here's video of Dominic Salvia, a complete non-participant (purely media), being arrested while reporting the protest for his radio show.
Dominic sent me the link and wrote me "Here is a third party link recording of arrests. At 10.43 minutes, I can be seen entering the camera shot from lower right. This video proves at no point was I a participating member of the protest, and was simply taking pictures, notes and engaging in brief conversations as media would do. My arrest begins at 14.00 minute mark."
Dominic Salvia is wearing a white shirt, has longish dark hair, and has glasses perched on his head.
Here's a statement the ACLU released about his arrest:
ACLU Statement on Arrest of Media Covering Capitol Protests
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: July 31, 2013
CONTACT: Sarah Karon, ACLU of Wisconsin, (608) 469-5540; email@example.com
MADISON – In the past week Capitol Police have arrested and cited dozens of protestors, some as old as 85, who have participated in peaceful demonstrations inside the Capitol rotunda.
On Wednesday, July 24, Capitol Police arrested Dominic Salvia, the host of “The Devil’s Advocates Radio,” a talk show on Madison’s 92.1 FM The Mic. Salvia was covering a protest inside the rotunda as a member of the media.
Today the ACLU of Wisconsin issued the following statement regarding Salvia’s arrest:
“The arrest of a member of the media illustrates the vagueness of the Capitol permit rules, which allow police to prosecute not only ‘participants’ in an event that is declared unlawful, but also ‘spectators.’ If spectators can include media, these rules are overly broad.”
Here's another example (someone who was photographing but not participating).
On a completely unrelated note, here's a picture of me being arrested today.
Handing officer a flower as I'm being arrested.
When they took me to holding, they had to describe my offense. Officer's statement was "He was singing and holding a flower". Lol.
Before the Sing Along today, we took a page out of the Otpor playbook, and delivered flowers and cookies to Capitol Police, along with a statement expressing our condolances for the loss of their union rights and support for their lawsuit against Scott Walker to get their union rights reinstated. That action made it onto the local news channels. Among the flowers, we included red carnations, given their symbolic value (initially used in the Turkish protests).