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Hundreds turn out for downtown Madison protests

More community leaders appeared to be on hand as well.
Published: Aug. 25, 2020 at 8:07 PM CDT|Updated: Aug. 26, 2020 at 7:59 AM CDT
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MADISON, Wis. (WMTV) - The night after demonstrations in downtown Madison ended in destruction and fires, protesters returned to Capitol Square on Tuesday evening to call for an end to to racial injustice.

The night started off peacefully. One difference between the Monday and Tuesday night was the fact more community leaders were on hand for the second night. Boys Club and Girls Club of Dane Co. President Micheal Johnson told NBC15 what happened the night before was unacceptable and he wanted to get community members and elected officials to participate this time around.

The night started around 6 p.m. with a candlelight vigil and march for Black lives. Freedom Inc., which organized the event, set up pictures and flowers to honor those whose lives were lost and handed out candles to participants.

Around 7:15 p.m., the Madison Police Dept. estimated the crowd at the top of State Street had swelled to approximately 150 people, who were blocking the inner square. The protesters vehicles were parked across the road on W. Mifflin Street and W. Washington Ave., MPD added.

As night rolled in about an hour later, more and more people started arriving. As demonstrators worked their way toward the Madison City County Building, the number of people in the crowd appeared to double.

Around 8:40 p.m., MPD tweeted that the crowd had increased to 200 people and had moved from the top of State Street to the City Council building for about 30 minutes. The crowd then moved back. A little more than an hour later, it followed up by noting a group less than half the earlier size was moving down State Street from the Capitol.

About the same time, shortly before 10 p.m., community leaders gathered on the corner of Pinckney and East Washington to talk about what happened the previous night, specifically about the “agitiators” who arrived after the peaceful protests ended. During a news conference earlier in the day, MPD Acting Chief Vic Wahl also said he could tell a group had headed to the protest, not focused on expression, but violence and destruction.”

Around 11:10 p.m., community leaders and elected officials marched together through downtown Madison. Some of the leaders who participated were former Madison Mayor Paul Soglin, State Superintendent Carolyn Taylor and Representative Sheila Stubbs.

After midnight, the scene downtown turned more violent with people again causing damage to buildings and starting fires. The Madison Police Dept. said it arrested four people in connection with the incident.

Madison police also noted that during the day and early evening on Tuesday, two separate groups gathered on the capitol square and marched around downtown peacefully.

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