(The Center Square) – The Wisconsin National Guard will protect the statehouse, but is under orders to allow protesters in Madison to continue to gather.
Gov. Tony Evers on Wednesday mobilized the Wisconsin National Guard Quick Reaction Force to help Madison Police keep the peace.
“The protests in Madison [Tuesday] night resulted in serious injury to bystanders as well as significant damage to state property,” Evers said. “The Wisconsin National Guard will serve in a limited authorization meant to make sure people can exercise their First Amendment rights while ensuring the safety of members of the public and state buildings and infrastructure.”
The governor is not saying just how many troops he is sending to Madison.
The decision to deploy the troops comes after a crowd of about 200 people rioted in Madison on Tuesday. The crowd tore down two statues at the statehouse, broke windows and tried to break-into the State Capitol. Sen. Tim Carpenter, D-Milwaukee, said protestors attacked him for taking pictures of the chaos.
Former state senator and current U.S. Rep. Tom Tiffany, a Republican, said the order to mobilize the Guard is welcome, but not enough.
“Decent people are fed up. Governor Evers has ignored this crisis for weeks. He has disregarded clear warning signs and repeated incidents of looting, mayhem and intimidation. He has stood idly by as the State Capitol was damaged, statues and monuments were defaced and destroyed, and State Street mobbed by looters and vandals," Tiffany said in a statement. "The governor has demonstrated time and time again that he is unwilling to prevent these unrelenting attacks on our safety, our property and our way of life. His silence is deafening, and his inaction is unacceptable. If he cannot or will not regain control of the streets, he should resign immediately. Enough is enough.”
Tiffany's comments came the same day that Madison's sheriff said the city's downtown is not safe.
"[This] is not the behavior that advances reforms in our country," Mahoney said. "You don't beat innocent individuals and rob them."
Tiffany said Evers and Madison's mayor have to prove that they are up to the task of controlling the city's protesters.
“These mob attacks on our history and our institutions have nothing to do with equality or police brutality," Tiffany said. "They are a vicious and illegal assault on the foundations of our democratic institutions and our free and open society, and public officials who refuse to stand up against those seeking to destabilize and destroy these institutions should resign from their positions of public trust.”