Madison police preparing for possible large protest at Capitol this weekend

MADISON, Wis. — The Madison Police Department says it is planning ahead for possible protests downtown this weekend, including one at the Wisconsin State Capitol Saturday that could draw thousands of people.

In a statement released Friday morning, MPD Chief Shon Barnes says the department is working with multiple other agencies to make sure the demonstrations are safe for everyone, and that the department will have extra officers working to cover the gathering — including members of the Special Events Team and the Mounted Patrol. Department leadership will also be in a command post, Barnes said.

“Our hope is that all gatherings remain peaceful allowing participants to openly and safely stand up for their beliefs, whatever they may be,” Barnes said in his statement.

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Barnes also said the department supports the rights granted to people through the First Amendment.

Groups speaking out against a potential reversal of Roe v. Wade have indicated they plan to hold protests across the country on Saturday, including one scheduled for the State Capitol at 4 p.m. Saturday.