On Wednesday, police throughout the day told 14 protesters they could not hold up signs on the Capitol's first floor because they did not have a permit.The permitting is, we're told, designed to help the police keep track of how many people are in the building and how it ought to be staffed. If it's a neutral rule, applied neutrally, the question is basically whether it is reasonable. But note that the Capitol is a distinctive location that has historically been the site of protests against the government, and there is particular case law here in Wisconsin, applying the state constitution to protests at the Capitol.
The protests occurred near where the Red Cross, which did have a permit, was conducting a blood drive.
Six of the protesters agreed to go outside to continue their protests, but eight refused. Those eight were arrested and ticketed for unlawfully displaying signs, according to the Capitol Police.
Rep. Christine Sinicki (D-Milwaukee) said she saw one protester being arrested for holding a sign that said, "It's about freedom."
"If they're not being disruptive, if they're not causing trouble, they should be allowed here," Sinicki said. "These people aren't hurting anybody."
That said, why would protesters choose to stand their ground in the vicinity of a Red Cross blood drive? You have the right to be politically stupid, but it's still stupid.