Several protesters continue to gather in downtown Madison despite curfew ending
MADISON, Wis. — Despite downtown Madison’s curfew ending at 9:30 p.m. on Monday, protesters continue to gather outside the Wisconsin State Capitol.
Madison Mayor Satya Rhodes-Conway issued an emergency order to extend the city’s curfew by two more nights for the downtown business district due to concerns over continued looting and violence.
Pretty similar to what we saw this time last night. The biggest difference? We’re really not seeing a police presence yet pic.twitter.com/7We9ZGHjF2
— Madalyn O’Neill (@news3madalyn) June 2, 2020
Vic Wahl, Acting Chief of Police for the Madison Police Department, made the original announcement that the city will enforce a curfew at 9:30 p.m. Monday and end 5 a.m. Tuesday. A curfew will also go into effect from 9:30 p.m. Tuesday to 5 a.m. Wednesday.
All businesses will be closed in the area during curfew hours and traffic will be restricted.
“We at the City are working collaboratively and inclusively to allow free speech and lawful assembly, while protecting the people of Madison and the promotion of peace and health,” Rhodes-Conway said in a statement.
Wahl said the Wisconsin National Guard is on standby to give assistance to local law enforcement officers if they request it.
The decision comes after a weekend filled with anger, looting and tear gas after violence broke out following a peaceful protest speaking out against police brutality and the killing of Minneapolis man George Floyd.
“I want the Black community here in Madison to know that we are grieving with you,” said Rhodes-Conway. “That I am angry too. George Floyd should be alive today. Tony Robinson should be alive today.”
Turmoil in Madison first broke out around 6 p.m. Saturday when police in riot gear showed up on State Street and maced and tear gassed protesters and bystanders after police reported someone had smashed the glass at and looted a nearby jewelry store. From there, violence gradually erupted leading to more and more vandalism and looting in the State Street area.
Rhodes-Conway declared a state of emergency early Sunday morning which put a 9:30 p.m. curfew in place. The downtown area was still filled with looters and police when the mayor issued the emergency declaration early Sunday.
On Sunday, a peaceful protest with hundreds of people continued up to the Capitol Square past the city’s curfew.
Madison police tweeted at 10:09 p.m. that a group of protesters assaulted an officer in the area.
Subjects in the downtown area have become violent, throwing rocks and assaulting an officer…chemical agents have been dispersed…curfew remains in effect, avoid the area
— Madison Police (@madisonpolice) June 1, 2020
A short time later, local law enforcement officers, with back up from the Wisconsin National Guard, launched tear gas canisters at the group of protesters. Officers then began to push the crowd northwest down Wisconsin Avenue. The crowd largely dispersed, with many people scattering into nearby residential neighborhoods north of West Gorham Street.
Firefighters responded to multiple fires in the area, including two dumpsters that were lit and pushed into the intersections of Gorham and Johnson streets at Wisconsin Avenue. News 3 Now crews witnessed
Window smashing and looting continued for hours, with relative silence downtown eventually starting around 3:30 a.m. At least 15 people were arrested Sunday night into Monday morning, one of whom was reportedly armed with a handgun while looting. Police said several others were arrested for trying to steal an MPD squad car.
Around 2:30 a.m., one person threw a rock at a Metro Madison bus that smashed a window.
Monday afternoon organizers of Saturday’s peaceful protest organized another march that took protesters throughout downtown Madison, eventually leading to a die-in demonstration on John Nolen Drive.
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