A man participating in a non-violent, progressive sing-along yesterday in the Wisconsin state Capitol was punched in the face by a man wearing a “Don’t Tread on Me” flag and reportedly yelling “Walker for president,” referring to the state’s Republican governor, Scott Walker. The flag is closely associated with the Tea Party movement. The Wisconsin State Journal reports:
State Department of Administration spokeswoman Carla Vigue said the singer who was punched, Michael J. Dickman of Madison, saw the two men draping the flag over others and came over and grabbed it. Dickman was cited by Capitol Police for disorderly conduct, she said.
Henry C. Rahr of Green Bay was arrested on a tentative charge of battery, and another man holding the flag, Eugene C. German, of Shorewood, Minn., also was cited for disorderly conduct, Vigue said.
The victim suffered a broken tooth. R. Chris Reeder, who leads the daily Solidarity Sing-Along, “said singers were shaken by what he called aggressive and provocative behavior by people who were at the Capitol on the day the Assembly passed a bill allowing the carrying of concealed weapons.”
In another incident at around the same time, former GOP state Sen. Dave Zien — who had received a standing ovation when he spoke to the GOP-controlled Assembly early in the day — was “yelling and running over singers’ belongings in the wheelchair he now uses following a motorcycle accident.” Watch video of Zien here.
The incident comes after months of protests by labor activists who occupied the Capitol to protest Walker’s attacks on labor rights, and several other heated exchanges between the sides.