PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Police took 40 people into custody outside the Democratic convention Monday evening after several hundred Bernie Sanders supporters and other demonstrators converged in the sweltering heat, chanting “Nominate Sanders or lose in November!” and “Hey, hey, ho, ho, the DNC has got to go!”
The marchers set out from City Hall and made their way some 4 miles down Broad Street, gathering near the Wells Fargo Center around the time the convention was gaveled to order.
Protesters tried to climb over police barricades at the edge of the security zone surrounding the convention, and police Chief Inspector Joseph Sullivan said 40 people were taken into custody. As tensions mounted, police moved metal fences into place and closed the nearest subway station to arriving trains.
Protesters carried signs that read, “Never Hillary,” ”Just Go to Jail Hillary” and “You Lost Me at Hillary.”
One of the marchers who made their way toward the convention hall, Destine Madu, of Maplewood, New Jersey, said it doesn’t matter if Sanders is calling on his backers to support Hillary Clinton.
“He’s like a Moses,” she said. “He led us to the promised land.”
The anger on the streets reflected the widening rift inside the Democratic Party and the convention hall itself between Sanders’ supporters and Clinton’s.
On Sunday, Debbie Wasserman Schultz resigned as Democratic Party chairwoman over leaked emails suggesting the supposedly neutral Democratic National Committee played favorites during the primaries by siding with Clinton and bad-mouthing Sanders.
The protests took shape amid a punishing heat wave, with oppressive humidity and temperatures in the mid-90s, along with the possibility of severe thunderstorms in the evening. The Fire Department handed out bottled water, and a few protesters were treated for heat-related problems.
About 100 Sanders supporters made their way into Philadelphia by marching across the Ben Franklin Bridge from Camden, New Jersey. Among them was Jim Glidden, a salesman from Batavia, New York. He carried a big sign saying the DNC stands for “Dishonest Nefarious Corrupt.”
“Only one guy is telling the truth out there,” he said, referring to Sanders. “And the DNC shut him up with lies and cheating.”
Another participant in the bridge march, Deborah Armstrong, of Spokane, Washington, said she and her husband went bankrupt because of his health problems, which required a heart transplant.
“I’m Bernie or bust,” she said. “I’m not going to have Trump held up to our head like a gun.”
The demonstrators espoused a variety of causes, including economic justice, socialism and marijuana legalization. With Sanders out of the race, some of them were backing Green Party candidate Jill Stein.
In contrast, the Republican convention last week in Cleveland was held in a bustling part of the city. A heavy police presence and fewer than expected protesters helped authorities maintain order. Only about two dozen arrests were made.
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