A Bernie Sanders rally in Seattle was derailed when “black lives matter” protesters stormed the podium and took the microphone from the Democratic candidate to a chorus of boos.
The incident took place just as Sanders began to address a crowd of several thousand people. Sanders stepped aside as they took the microphone and argued with an event organizer.
As the crowd began to shout at the protesters, one of them addressed the crowd.
“I was going to tell Bernie how racist this city is… but you already did it for me,” she yelled.
The women were identified as Marissa Johnson and Mara Jacqueline Willaford. They remained on the podium and struggled with event organizers who tried to force them away.
Bernie’s speech was ultimately canceled, NBC affiliate KING5 reported, but Bernie stayed afterward to shake hands and speak to those in attendance.
“Not the ending we hoped for,” an organizer told the station.
The protest was odd given the setting. Bernie Sanders is among the most progressive candidates, and has been a supporter of civil rights. After the disruption, Sanders released a statement bemoaning the ill-timed protest.
“I am disappointed that two people disrupted a rally attended by thousands at which I was invited to speak about fighting to protect Social Security and Medicare,” Sanders said. “I was especially disappointed because on criminal justice reform and the need to fight racism there is no other candidate for president who will fight harder than me.”
Bernie Sanders has been vocal on the “black lives matter” movement, which has emerged in light of police killings of young black men. In an appearance on NBC’s Meet the Press, Sanders said he believes institutional racism goes hand-in-hand with wealth inequality.
“We have to end institutional racism, but we have to deal with the reality that 50 percent of young black kids are unemployed, that we have massive poverty in America, that we have an unsustainable level of income and wealth inequality,” he said.
Sanders also referenced Martin Luther King, Jr.’s attempts to combat poverty.
“My view is that we have got to deal with the fact that the middle class in this country is disappearing, that we have millions of people working for wages that are much too low impacts everybody, impacts the African-American community even more,” he said on Sunday. “Those are issues that do have to be dealt with, and just at the same time as we deal with institutional racism.”
This is not the first time that Bernie Sanders has been disrupted by “black lives matter” protesters. At an appearance at a Netroots Nation event in July, he was met with protesters who shouted at him during a speech.
[Picture by Scott Olson/Getty Images]