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Disruptions cause Capitol banned list to grow

A protester is removed from the Wisconsin Senate gallery by a state trooper Thursday during the Senate’s budget debate in Madison. Two people locked themselves to a railing. (AP Photo/Wisconsin State Journal, Craig Schreiner)

Authorities have identified the pair of individuals who chained themselves to portions of the state Senate gallery, disrupting debate on the proposed 2011-13 budget by two hours.

Christopher W. French, 20, and Bridgett A. O’Brien, 23, were arrested by state police on charges of disorderly conduct, obstructing/resisting an officer and unlawful assembly after using a U-shaped bicycle lock connecting their bodies to portions of the state Senate gallery Thursday morning, according to a state police report.

French, O’Brien and six other protesters began yelling at the state Senators shortly after the meeting commenced at 11 a.m., halting the Senate’s progress toward adopting a 2011-13 state budget.

While six other individuals were briefly detained and cited for disorderly conduct, French and O’Brien were taken into custody at Dane County Jail, according to police.

The disturbance forced the Senate into recess for two hours while law enforcement officials worked to free French and O’Brien, both of whom failed to bring a key for the lock.

Due to the event, law enforcement officials will no longer allow all types of locks, bike cables, chains, handcuffs or any other similar devices that can be used to restrict or constrain movement, the report stated.

The following are items that continue to be forbidden from entering the Capitol building:

• Signs on sticks
• Bull horns, whistles, drums and other noise makers
• Tape for posting signs
• Tents and/or sleeping bags
• Weapons

— Adam Wise

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