In Madison, Wisconsin, a protest where people don’t get dragged away by the cops is like a Dexy’s Midnight Runners concert where they refuse to play “Come On Eileen.” It’s almost like it never happened.
To date, the nearly four months’ worth of public-sector-union protests have been largely devoid of such pyrotechnics. But no more. Last night, an estimated 30 people were dragged out of a budget committee meeting by Wisconsin Capitol police, with two being held in custody.
At various points during the meeting, single protesters would spring from their seats and begin reading from the Bill of Rights, or yelling something so incomprehensible one would need a copy of Hippie Rosetta Stone to decipher it. As they would be forcibly removed, the crowd would chant, “Police state! Police state!”
This isn’t the first time the Joint Finance Committee has been disrupted. Last week, a young man who has come to be known as “Segway Guy” was removed from committee deliberations for talking over the committee’s members. Segway Guy (given name Jeremy Ryan) has gained notoriety for riding his Segway around the Capitol while haranguing people, and for posting unhinged videos of himself and his friends exploring “secret” hallways of the statehouse. (Hallways which are accessible to any member of the public.) The best part of the video occurs at the 12:50 mark, where he concedes that he got his Segway in Oregon, “to avoid the sales tax.”
Some highlights of last night’s committee disruptions:
Full, uncut video of the hearing can be seen here.
— Christian Schneider is a senior fellow at the Wisconsin Policy Research Institute.