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Capitol Police: We’re Closing the Building Sunday at 4pm

MADISON, WI (FDL) – WisPolitics relays an announcement from the Capitol Police.

Capitol Police today announced that the Capitol building will close Sunday at 4 p.m. for cleaning, followed by opening for normal business hours Monday at 8 a.m.

Capitol Police Chief Charles Tubbs said in a statement that the building will be cleared for “public health reasons, as well as for general building maintenance.”

The building will be locked tonight at 9 p.m. and opened again tomorrow at 6 p.m. In addition, beginning tomorrow, protesters will also no longer be able to carry blankets or sleeping bags into the Capitol.

Clearly we’re nearing an endgame here. But there’s a lot of misinformation streaming through the crowd, which is very large tonight. And it’s unclear whether everyone in the crowd will honor this request, and what happens then. I talked to some people at the “Information Station” on the second floor, and they weren’t sure what this ordinance meant. “All I can say is I don’t know what’s going to happen,” said one. Another said, “It’s clear that some people aren’t going to leave no matter what they say.”

The Wisconsin Professional Police Association has already asked Gov. Walker not to close the Capitol, and local law enforcement members plan to sleep over tonight with the protesters. This could create a situation where the Wisconsin State Patrol have to eject city and county police from the building.

Tonight, nobody is allowed to sleep on the second and third floors of the Capitol. Most of the makeshift infrastructure that was on those floors, including the medical center, lending library, food station and child care area, has been broken down.

Governor Walker gave a press conference that revealed little new information. But he did address this at the end. He deferred to the Capitol police, when under the law he actually makes the call on whether to shut down the building.

So we could see some gradual confrontations or civil disobedience, as the Capitol Police squeezes the protesters out of the place. How this will play out is anyone’s guess.

As many as 100,000 people are expected in Madison tomorrow for protests outside the Capitol. Bradley Whitford of The West Wing will emcee the event, and musical acts will perform.

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David Dayen

David Dayen