The Assembly was scheduled to begin session at 11 this morning but there were a few obstacles in making that happen. Protestors remain camped out from last night when they overwhelmed police at entrances and all but took control of the building. Other protestors and media were being restricted access to that section of the building.
At the same time, entrances to the capitol had been shut down completely resulting in some lawmakers having to climb into windows just to come to work.
Department of Administration Secretary Mike Heubsch said the capitol lockdown was necessary as the residing protestors had not gone through standard security procedures such as metal detectors and bag searches. A short time later he lifted the restrictions at entrances.
Back at the Assembly vestibule, protestors continued refusing to leave to the area so law enforcement escorted them out.
“They (police) walked in a just started grabbing people no warnings, no nothing grabbed by the neck threw me to the ground,” said a young man who lay limp as officers dragged him out.
This activity caused tempers to flare among the demonstrators down the hall. Chants of “shame, shame,” and references to a “police state” were screamed along with some profane language.
Meanwhile a couple of women chanted, “Peaceful, peaceful.” One of them felt it was not constructive being hostile to police saying, “No need for confrontation they’re doing their job.”
When the Assembly lobby was cleared, reporters arrived to find Democratic lawmakers unsuccessfully attempting to open the chamber’s locked doors. Following contentious action in the Senate last night, the orange-shirt-clad Representatives suggested it was another attempt by their opposition to block out their vote.
“There are no ends to which the Republicans and Governor Walker will not go to deprive the citizens of Wisconsin to have their voices heard and their votes cast,” said Rep. Donna Seidel as she pounded on the door.
Rep. Andy Jorgensen pulled out his keys and said, “They even changed the locks.”
After a while the chamber’s doors were open and Democrats began being seated but not for long as Reverend Jesse Jackson arrived to testify. One-by-one the Assembly Dems greeted Jackson. He was allowed to give opening prayer but otherwise did not speak after the session finally began.