A dozen silent demonstrators wearing zombie makeup and protest T-shirts were arrested early Wednesday afternoon after lying down on the floor of a legislator’s Capitol offices and refusing to leave.
Police carried out the demonstrators “one by one” after the group spent about half an hour in the offices of Rep. Robin Vos, R-Rochester, said Vos’ communications director, Kit Beyer.
Ten received disorderly conduct citations, one was booked and released, and one was required to post $263.50 because he was from out of state, said Capitol Police spokeswoman Lori Getter.
Earlier in the day, the group was part of a “Die-In and Zombie March” by about 50 people protesting cuts to student aid and a new voter ID law that critics say will make it harder for students to vote, said Erika Wolf, field organizer and lobbyist for the United Council of UW Students, an advocacy group that represents about 150,000 students throughout Wisconsin.
Participants wore zombie makeup and red-streaked T-shirts stating “Students are as good as dead” and lay on the steps of the Capitol while a “eulogy” was read and other protestors, dressed in black, posed as “mourners,” Wolf said. The group then marched through the Capitol and later stood near a crowd outside where Gov. Scott Walker was addressing a group from Special Olympics Wisconsin.
Kelly Kloepping, vice-president of communications for Special Olympics Wisconsin, said the protesters were respectful and caused no disruption.
A video posted online shows a line of protesters standing between Walker and the group from the Special Olympics.
With the zombie theme, the group was trying to do “something funny and interesting and eye-catching, and show that even if they’re going to have their rights stripped from them, they’re going to rise up,” Wolf said.
Wolf said the action in Vos’ office by 12 of the zombie participants was not orchestrated or sanctioned by the United Council.
The dozen arrested “walked into the office without talking,” then silently proceeded through a second office and into Vos’ office, where they locked arms, Beyer said. Vos was not there at the time, she said.