News & Politics

Bernie Bros Gone Wild: 35 Protesters Taken Into Custody Wednesday Night

A pro-Bernie Sanders demonstration outside the Democrat convention in Philadelphia got a little crazy Wednesday night, leading to the detainment of 35 protesters.

Philly.com reports that protesters scaled fences and tried to break through barriers to get into the Wells Fargo Center secure zone. Later on as delegates were leaving, dozens of protesters blocked an exit, forcing the police to detour the delegates around a security fence so they could get to their waiting buses. Left-wing agitators also (predictably) set American flags on fire as they vowed to keep their “political revolution” alive. For the second time in two weeks, a left-wing activist accidentally set herself on fire and had to be treated for burns.

For more than six hours at a plaza near City Hall, speakers including dozens of Sanders delegates yelled out to a crowd that swelled to more than 400 people. Despite pleas for unity, including one from Sanders himself, many said they would not fall in line.

“This revolution will not end after the DNC!” shouted Gary Frazier, Philadelphia coordinator for the advocacy group Black Men for Bernie, which helped organize the rally. “We will never, ever vote for Hillary Clinton.”

In the evening, however, tensions grew – and things got uglier – at the Wells Fargo Center. First, about 35 protesters were taken into custody after they refused police orders to stop blocking an exit to the convention area.

Then hundreds more rallied at Broad Street and Pattison Avenue shortly after 10 p.m., chanting, drumming, and waving signs.

And shortly before 11 p.m., seven people were arrested for scaling a fence outside the Wells Fargo Center and getting into the secure zone. The Secret Service said those people were charged with entering a restricted area. They face initial court hearings Thursday.

This video gives you a good sense of how chaotic the scene got outside the convention last night:

https://youtu.be/BdTSw-9T8B0

As Philly.com reported:

As President Obama addressed the convention, protesters outside tried to push through barrier gates. Police pushed back and were reinforced by dozens more. A fire was lit, catching onto the clothing of a female protester. “She’s on fire!” someone yelled and others extinguished the flames with bottled water.

It’s hard to tell if she was trying to stomp out the fire or stomp on the flag, but she was definitely “feeling the Bern,” as they say.

Via Twitchy, (language warning):

A similar snafu happened outside of the RNC convention last week when a communist agitator accidentally set himself on fire while trying to burn an American flag.

Later on, protesters attempted to burn another flag, but were unsuccessful, as the flag was made out of non-flammable material.

Philly.com goes on to report that “10 protesters were given citations after they zip-tied themselves to a railing inside the Comcast Center lobby in protest of corporate media companies.”

Another small group gathered at Eighth and Market Streets to protest the decision by Baltimore prosecutors to drop the remaining counts against officers charged in the death of Freddie Gray.

Still, after three days of demonstrations that at times grew large and volatile, the tone across the city Wednesday was far more muted, perhaps out of a mixture of disappointment at Clinton’s Tuesday nomination and fatigue.

One “berned” out Bernie supporter was “feeling the beet” so to speak, as he sadly munched on the vegetable and griped about how his dreams of revolution were “crushed.”

“I think everybody’s a little low today,” said Andrew English, 29, of Charlotte, N.C., as he sat on a bench beside a friend who was munching on a beet as if it were an apple.

“We all knew . . . Hillary Clinton was going to get the nomination, but we still had our hopes and dreams,” English said. “But they were crushed yesterday.”

Some of Bernie’s most ardent fans still had some fight in them, however.

At the Bernie rally, voter after voter and Sanders delegate after Sanders delegate climbed the stage and shouted into a microphone as the crowd clapped, cheered, and thrust signs into the air. The anti-Clinton sentiments were unmistakable.

For some, the rejection of Clinton was in part because they said she was too much of an establishment candidate. For others, Clinton’s progressive stance paled in comparison with Sanders’.

But mostly, they said, the appeal of Sanders came from his ability to buck traditional politics.

“No more Bush, Clinton, Bush, Obama, Clinton – no,” said Denise Groves, a 40-year-old delegate from Maine who walked out of the convention Tuesday night after Clinton was nominated. “Let’s do this! Peace, love, and Bernie.

Disappointed Bernie voters seemed to be moving toward the Green Party in Philly. When Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein took the stage, they chanted “Jill, not Hill!”

Stein went with it, blasting Clinton as the “lesser evil” and the Democrats as “that zombie political party whose days are numbered.” She said the Green Party and a bloc of voters united on such issues as ending police brutality, fracking, and immigrant deportation “are the solutions to the Donald Trumps of the world.”

Colorado delegate Gabriel McArthur passed out green t-shirts for a demonstration Thursday, encouraging a “mass de-registration from Democratic voting rolls.”

McArthur said he was planning to change his party registration and would vote for Stein. He participated in the walkout from the Wells Fargo Center Tuesday night, his first convention.

“I thought we were going to have a vote, something a little more democratic,” he said. “Instead I felt like a seat-filler in a commercial.”

Demonstrators reportedly danced and cheered to “Disco Inferno,” chanting “Burn, baby, burn!”

Around 9 p.m., a group of about 40 protesters at the Wells Fargo Center blocked an exit for delegates. Police officers had to detour delegates around a security fence so they could get to waiting buses. Eventually, most of the protesters were taken into custody. They were expected to be given civil citations. Prior to those detentions, Philadelphia police reported they had issued citations to 69 individuals.

Also Wednesday, the four arrested as they scaled the fence outside the arena Tuesday appeared in federal court and were released on their own recognizance. Lawyers for the four – the first to be taken into custody since the convention opened – said the arrests were arbitrary and questioned why they faced possible criminal records while other protesters walked away with $50 civil citations.

Philly.com reports that the Wednesday’s arrests bring the total number of arrests for the convention to eleven. That number does not include those who have been cited, detained, or taken into custody and released.