On Tuesday night, things became very messy near the State Capitol in Madison as a large number of protesters gathered with the intention of not just having their voices heard but also toppling some more statues. This would have been another one of the myriad similar gatherings of demonstrators but for the fact that a Senator from the Democratic Party got attacked also.
Tim Carpenter was present at the site and was witnessing the events as well as filming and photographing them. This apparently drew the ire of protesters who turned on him and left him in a state where he collapsed on the ground.
These protests, while being a part of the nationwide agitation that erupted following the death of George Floyd, had a unique trigger of its own also. It was the arrest of an African-American who took a baseball bat and a megaphone into a restaurant in this area.
The mob that gathered in the Capitol area didn't just protest loudly. They also broke the windows of the statehouse and, as has become customary in such demonstrations, tore down two statues. Ironically, one of those statues is of Colonel Hans Christian Heg, an anti-slavery abolitionist who fought in the Civil War from the Union side and was martyred.
The other statue didn't represent a person but was known as 'Forward'. It was a symbolic representation of the state's motto.
But the most disturbing incident was the attack on Senator Carpenter. "I don't know what happened...all I did was stop and take a picture...and the next thing I'm getting five-six punches, getting kicked in the head," the lawmaker told Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.
Carpenter also took to Twitter and shared a picture. He wrote: "I took this pic- it got me assaulted & beat up. Punched/kicked in the head, neck, ribs. Maybe concussion, socket in left eye is little blurry, sore neck & ribs. 8-10 people attacked me. Innocent people are going to get killed. Capitol locked- stuck in office. Stop violence now Plz!"
Later, a photo of the Senator lying unconscious on the ground was also seen on Twitter and a reporter confirmed that it was the lawmaker from Wisconsin.
The continuing protests have turned from a mere cry of anguish at the supposed atrocities committed by the police against African-Americans to something akin to a disregard for the norms of the society and the rules of the state. Toppling of statues, including of people like Colonel Heg clearly suggest that protestors are more keen on disturbing peace rather than making a political point.