I guess that answers my question why firefighters in uniform are allowed to participate in a political protest march. It was really a procession toward a ceremony for their dead comrades. That it occurred immediately after the much-promoted Feingold rally was merely a coincidence.
Right? That must be right. Please tell me I'm right. They wouldn't use a ceremony for dead firefighters as a cover for political activity in uniform.
UPDATE: From the same blogger, tweeting 47 minutes ago:
Today's rally starts 11AM #Walkerville 3:30pm time of firefighters bagpipe march. 5:30pm evening speakers #wiunionThere can never be enough ceremonies for the fallen comrades. And coincidences.
UPDATE 2: I've got video from Sunday's rally, which I'm edited to show you how the 2 events were sequenced and interwoven. My video, which will be up fairly soon, shows that as Feingold's speech ended, the crowd was told:
One of our greatest allies has been the firefighters — the firefighters' union. [CHEERS.] They are having a special commemoration for their fallen members, and they've asked us to cheer them on as they march from the Concourse, they're going to take a left around the Capitol. Just the firefighters. But they ask if we wait here 'til they come, they should be here in about 5 to 10 minutes. We want to cheer them on. We want to remember people who've fallen. We want to stand with the firefighters and we're ready for this week.During the wait, there were chants of "Recall Walker" and "What's disgusting? Union busting!" When the firefighters arrive, the crowd cheers "thank you, thank you" — which could mean thank you for your public service, but it is also the cheer that was used throughout the protests to express approval for participating in the protest. We see more of the march as it goes around to the right and over to the Monona Terrace (where the ceremony will take place). You'll see the firefighters — with Congresswoman Tammy Baldwin in formation — followed by civilians, many of whom are carrying protest signs.
So, the ceremony could have been long planned, with no connection to the protests, but: 1. There seems to be another firefighters' march today, 2. The firefighters seem to have coordinated with the announcer at the Feingold rally to some extent, and 3. The crowd (including me and Meade) perceived it as a single, multi-part, anti-Walker event.
AND: Here's the edited video (described in Update 2, above):