Despite threats by some police union members to stop the evacuation of the Madison Capitol, and some wishful thinking by supporters of the protesters, the Capitol has in fact been closed as of 4 p.m. (CT) today, with “peaceful resistance” by some protesters.
As reported a little after closing by The Journal Sentinal:
At a little after 4 p.m. Sunday a call went out over the loudspeaker: “The Capitol is now closed.”
But just because authorities made the announcement, that doesn’t mean the protesters have left the building, scene of protests against Gov. Scott Walker’s budget-repair bill.
Authorities are working with protesters to make sure the state Capitol closure goes smoothly. It could take at least 90 minutes to accomplish the task. Those who plan to be “peacefully arrested” have assembled on the first floor, while those who plan to leave remain on the ground floor of the Capitol Rotunda.
Based on television coverage as of 5 p.m. (CT), the rotunda still is pretty full, with the police taking a soft approach to removing people. All of the protesters have moved to the first floor.
Update 6 p.m. (CT) — per television reports, most people have left the building, but a few dozen still remain. (Watching FoxNews, someone just threatened to “break the neck” of reporter Mike Tobin as the reporter was giving his presentation.)
Update 8:15 p.m. (CT) — based on a live cell phone feed, it appears that there still are some protesters in the building, but it doesn’t look like that many. A couple of hours ago, the floor was covered with people sitting down and chanting, but now there are far fewer people just milling around. Apparently there is a no re-entry policy but the remaining protesters will be allowed to stay overnight without sleeping bags or mattresses, or much in the way of new food supplies.
Update 2-28-2011: The Capitol Police have reversed course, and now say protesters will be allowed to stay overnight in the Capitol. I’ll have more on this later.