Hundreds Assemble Peacefully At Wisconsin Solidarity Singalong In Defiance Of Walker Crackdown

By Doug Cunningham

[Music – Solidarity Singers]: “Have You Been To Jail For Justice?” (fade out)

Wisconsin’s Solidarity Singalong First Amendment protest drew about 250 people to the state capitol Monday after three days of police arrests and citations last week. The singers began daily labor and folk protest songs in Wisconsin’s capitol rotunda during the uprising over collective bargaining rights for public workers in 2011. The solidarity singers refuse to apply for permits. They say the First Amendment is their permit. Dane County Sheriff Dave Mahoney says rather that arrest people for free speech he would use a different tactic.

[Sheriff Dave Mahoney]: “I’m here to join alongside the Solidarity Singers, This is an example of freedom of speech. It’s an example of  people coming together in solidarity for what they believe in.”

A woman named Delia came from to Madison from Kenosha with her sign referencing the “Moral Monday” civil disobedience protests in North Carolina.

[Delia]: “I drove up from Kenosha today. I just had to be here to support everybody after seeing what happened the last three days. I heard about the arrests on Wednesday, Thursday Friday and it frankly it made be cry. It just hurts my heart that this is happening. And to me it seems immoral that we are denied our opportunity to speak in the public house.”

Michael Kissick is a University of Wisconsin professor and plaintiff in the ACLU case against the police crackdown on Wisconsin’s solidarity singalong.

[Michael Kissick]: “In the First Amendment the last line says I can assembly peacefully and petition the government for a redress of grievance. That’s exactly what protest is. I have a constitutional right to do it in a public forum.”

Jeri Jafek says she joined the solidarity sing along to protest the policies of Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker but now it’s a free speech issue.

[JeriJafek]: “It’s very healing to sing against the Walker policies. You know, that’s the main thing. And now we’re fighting for free speech.”

Dale Dunn is urging people to come to Wisconsin’s capitol in great numbers to defend free speech against Walkers Capitol Police crackdown.

[Dale Dunn]: “I would like to see them come to the capitol and join the protest. Because otherwise they’re just gonna keep ticketing the same people who come. We need numbers in the capitol. I don’t think you need a permit from the government to protest the government.”

Greg Kinsley’s reason for supporting the Solidarity Singalongs was right to the point.

[Greg Kinsley]: “We’re here until Wisconsin gets better.”

Police arrested one person – Rod Pederson – for holding a sign inside the capitol that said “Article 1, Section 4” – the free speech clause in the Wisconsin constitution. The solidarity sing along outside the capitol was five times bigger than a right wing pro-Walker event inside the rotunda Monday.


[Music – Solidarity SIngers]: “We Shall Overcome”

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