Security tightened around Wisconsin state Capitol as threat of violence continues

NOW: Security tightened around Wisconsin state Capitol as threat of violence continues

MADISON, Wis. (CBS 58) – The Wisconsin state Capitol’s windows are boarded up, the driveways around it have concrete barriers and extra patrols of police officers circled the building during a weekend where law enforcement continue to assess the threat of violence.

Madison residents went about their weekend routines but security in and around the Capitol was anything but normal.

“I think it’s a good thing to be prepared,” Sam, a resident of Madison who was walking her dog told CBS 58. She said she’s cautiously optimistic the extra security measures will deter violence.

“Given how much coverage we have seen on TV about all of the riots that happened in DC, I think it is highly unlikely that we’ll see anything like there anywhere else because everybody knows that people are prepared now,” Sam said.

While the threats of violence were not visible, officials warned people to not take risks.

“For the next couple of days I really encourage people to stay off the streets and away from the Capitol Square,” Rep. Francesca Hong told CBS 58 in an interview.

Hong and other state lawmakers in the Legislature were told by Capitol Police this week to stay away from the Capitol as well as take extra precautions like being aware of any suspicious activity near them or packages they receive. Capitol Police said there were no specific threats to lawmakers but continue to assess the general threat to the state Capitol.

“How I’m feeling safety-wise, you know, I’m very appreciative of the proactiveness of the administration and the Capitol Police,” Hong said. “There is also overcommunication, I hope, to have soon from the city and the police department, unfortunately there is just so much unknown.”

Hong also owns a restaurant just off the Capitol Square. Through the pandemic, unrest in 2020 and now this latest threat, Hong said she understands the fatigue businesses are facing.

“We want downtown to be safe, we want downtown to be thriving, we want downtown to be inclusive, and acts of violence by fascists really impede on that.”

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