A showdown looms between police and protesters as the state tries to close the Capitol on Sunday afternoon and resume normal business hours.
Since the protest began two weeks ago, protesters have been staying 'round the clock inside, sleeping on the floor. On Friday, the state Department of Administration announced it would shut the Capitol beginning at 4 p.m. for cleaning and reopen it at 8 a.m. Monday.
Organizers with Defend Wisconsin and the Teaching Assistants' Association at UW-Madison rejected the directive on Friday, issuing a press release declaring that closing the Capitol "sends the wrong signal about democratic participation and open government."
Now, many protesters are planning on getting arrested in defiance of the order. The TAA announced in another release that many groups -- including unions, UW students and churches -- were planning on defying the order.
"We're committed to staying in the Capitol and being here for those who can't," TAA co-president Alex Hanna said in the release. Hanna plans on remaining in the building, adding: "We've been waiting for two weeks for our voices to be heard. We don't understand why the doors of democracy are closing today."
The Wisconsin AFL-CIO also issued a press release today, announcing that "dozens of ministers, rabbis, and priests joined workers and students from across the state, risking arrest to protest the closing of the State Capitol to the public." Along with a labor leader, UW student, and a minister, it also quoted Jim Palmer, executive director of the Wisconsin Professional Police Association.
"The fact of the matter is that Wisconsin's law enforcement community opposes Governor Walker's effort to eliminate collective bargaining in this state," said Palmer, "and we implore him to not do anything to increase the risk to officers or the public. Security cannot come at the cost of conflict."
News and discussion about plans for civil disobedience spread quickly via Facebook and Twitter over Saturday night and on into Sunday. Reports indicated that at least 60, but possibly many more people, would refuse to leave the Capitol when it closed.