The release of DNC emails this month by WikiLeaks may have created more chaos than was initially planned for the party’s convention this week.
Bolstered by the leaks, impassioned and furious Bernie Sanders supporters from around the country descended upon the streets of Philadelphia to protest on Sunday, according to the New York Times.
The crowd numbered over 1,000 and was far larger than the rallies at the Republican convention in Cleveland last week. The protesters, who flew in from all corners of the country, carried a banner that said, “Help End Establishment Politics Vote No on Hillary.”
The marchers also chanted, “Hell, no, D.N.C., we won’t vote for Hillary.”
Yet, the anger in the air was still palpable. Some protesters were heard chanting “lock her up,” a statement which heavily featured throughout the Republican convention only a week before. Some Sanders supporters also carried signs proclaiming “Hillary for Prison.” Similar signs were also seen in Cleveland last week.
Sanders formally endorsed Clinton only two weeks ago, which some thought would ease tensions. But, the WikiLeaks announcement derailed the support that endorsement should have brought. The leak was confirmation that the D.N.C. had stacked the deck against Sanders, which his supporters had long suspected.
When asked about who they would vote for in November, one protester said, “I’d rather watch the D.N.C. burn.”
The protesters are getting at least part of this wish. Debbie Wasserman Shultz, the party chairwoman, will leave her post when the convention wraps.
Sanders called for her resignation back in May, although, it was the email leak that prompted any action on behalf of the party chairwoman.
The Sunday protests signal what is likely to be a full week of demonstrations and rallies against Hillary and against the party itself. Some predict that the white hot heat of the email leak combined with better organization on behalf of the protesters means that those on the ground will be louder and more coherent than the protests at the Republican National Convention.
Many of the protests at the RNC were broken up because of infighting and the intense police presence in Cleveland.
Among top demands of those descending upon Philadelphia this week include reforms designed to bolster Democracy. Protestors want to see changes in the nominating process and the revision and overhaul of the super-delegate system. As Kai Newkirk of Democracy Spring says, the goal is to “make this the last corrupt, billionaire-dominated voter suppression-marred election in our country.”
Clinton and Sanders agreed to a compromise on Saturday that would create a commission designed for the review and potential restructuring of the nomination and selection processes. This concession, along with the departure of Wasserman Shultz, has pleased some protesters. But, it is not enough to prevent the plans to cause disruption during the convention.
The convention will also likely face several events organized and related to Black Lives Matter. This is where tensions may be at their highest. The police force and Philly’s African-American community have a difficult relationship as a result of alleged discriminatory practices and over policing.
Still, the city provided free water and misting tents to the crowds who arrived to protest despite the National Weather Service’s excessive heat warning, suggesting that protesters will be treated well, regardless of who they choose to vote for in November.
[Photo By Aaron P. Bernstein/Getty Images]