Madison mayor: Overnight protests ‘undercut’ the movement, divide the community


MADISON, Wis. — Madison Mayor Satya Rhodes-Conway responded to overnight protests early Tuesday.

In a statement, Rhodes-Conway says the city honors the First Amendment and the right to peacefully protest, but draws the line on arson, theft and “criminal damage to property” that puts people’s lives at risk.

“This behavior does not build a movement — it undercuts the movement, and in Madison, it divides a community that largely supports change,” Rhodes-Conway said. Instead, she said she wants protesters to take a more grassroots approach. She suggested reaching out to state representatives, county supervisors or city alders about legislative changes. Rhodes-Conway also suggested volunteering and taking mentorship opportunities within the community.

Demonstrators started damaging property downtown shortly after 9 p.m. Monday, after peaceful protests had already ended. A group of about 500 stayed, and marched around the downtown area. Six people have been arrested, and Madison police anticipate more will be made after they go through more evidence.