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Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker’s administration ordered its Capitol Police force to arrest singing citizens for a second consecutive day. Singers participating in the daily, noon-hour Solidarity Sing Along sang social justice and workers rights–themed songs as they have done at the Wisconsin Capitol every weekday since March, 2011. Here is a heartbreaking account of today's events from my friend Anica…
I went to the Capitol today to join the SingaLong. Shortly after we began singing "We Shall Overcome" at noon, the police declared that we had unlawfully assembled. We continued to sing. There were many people there, women with babies strapped to their chests, families, old friends, senators (Jauch and Cullen) assemblypeople (Taylor, Sargent) and lots of press. Then the police started arresting people.

They arrested my friend who just had hip surgery and needed a crutch to walk. They would not let her use it as they hauled her away. They arrested a sweet veteran of the Vietnam war who had an American flag. It fell to the floor as they cuffed him and the officers stepped on it.

I don't know how many people they arrested today. I saw two men arrested with their school aged children following close behind. Some people were arrested more than once. Through this all we sang. We sang. The police weaved through the crowd at times, it seemed to me like they were picking people out to arrest. One particular detective kept watching me, following me as I moved through the crowd. I chose to not be arrested today, if I could at all help it, and finally I went outside.

I cried as I left. I cried because I was sad that I could no longer feel safe singing in the Capitol that I love; that my dissent is no longer allowed there. I cried because my friends were unjustly arrested and some of them were hurt. I cried because I've worked really hard lately and I'm tired and going to the Capitol is what I do on my days off. I am proud, though. Proud of what we do. Proud of what we are accomplishing. My heart is full of love for the patriots that I was with today, that I was with days and months and years ago, patriots that I will be with tomorrow, and then next day, and the day after that.

Yesterday there were about 75 – 100 singers and spectators in the rotunda. Today it was about 300, if you include the dozen or so Democratic state legislators who came to bear witness, and a few Republican staffers leaning over the upper tier railings hoping to see some hippie-punching.
The totals are not in, but it seemed that fewer people were arrested today than yesterday. Most of those arrested were cited and released, but at least three were taken to the Dane County jail for possibly resisting arrest (going limp), although that is not confirmed.  (UPDATE - the police arrested 23 and handed out 26 citations and 3 criminal charges.)

All photos and video above are property of Leslie Amsterdam and are used with permission. Thank you, Leslie!

More amazing images from noise of rain in his diary:

Want to help? You can help defray court costs by donating to the singers' First Amendment Protection Fund here:

If you can't do that, how about liking the Solidarity Sing Along facebook page?

Thanks for the kind words and comments everyone. They are a real morale booster for the singers and are very much appreciated!

Originally posted to Giles Goat Boy on Thu Jul 25, 2013 at 01:55 PM PDT.

Also republished by The First and The Fourth, Badger State Progressive, and Protest Music.

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