President Barack Obama took to the stage Wednesday evening to give his strongest endorsement of Hillary Clinton yet. But as the president spoke to a cheering crowd, chaos erupted outside the convention center, and seven protesters were arrested.
At 10:50 pm that evening, protestors swarmed the convention’s security barricades. Seven managed to get through to the Secret Service secure zone and were detained. Hundreds of protesters poured out of FDR Park to fight against what they consider Hillary Clinton’s “coronation,” or nomination.
The story isn’t a new one, even if mainstream media hasn’t been covering it. Thousands have gathered in Philadelphia to protest the Democratic establishment since the very start of the convention. And the establishment itself has been engaging in questionable behavior, from taking away credentials from Sanders surrogates to locking Sanders’ delegates out of the room when voting for a proposal that would eliminate superdelegates.
Some protestors are rallying behind Jill Stein, Green Party candidate who has been actively involved in the convention protests. On Tuesday, there was the “Bernie or Bust” crowd, Wednesday the “Occupy DNC” group. Stein and Sanders share similar ideals, and many of Sanders’ die-hard supporters have already committed to “going Green.”
Inside the convention center on Monday evening, Bernie Sanders addressed the crowd, pleading Clinton’s case and asking his voters to rally behind her. Reportedly, Sanders speech was moved to the end of the evening last minute after the DNC got wind of the Vermont senator’s supporters planning an organized effort against Clinton. No details on what that “effort” might have been has been revealed.
Those who were in attendance at the convention reported that security was taking away signs for Bernie Sanders from supporters in the crowd.
On Tuesday, Clinton secured the nomination, and Sanders delegates staged a walkout. Police shut the doors and refused to allow the walkout delegates back inside, despite having the appropriate credentials to enter.
Demonstrators also staged a sit-down that led to a lockdown of the media. Reports swirled that the police were blocking the media from leaving the media tents to cover the story. And protesters weren’t allowed to enter the tents.
A short time after, the protesters dispersed and the media was able to move about. But reporters noted that some officers had placed tape over their badge numbers.
The next day, reports came in that the DNC was hiring people to fill the convention center seats, although these reports have not been verified.
On Wednesday evening, Nina Turner, top Sanders delegate and surrogate, made headlines after reports came in that her speech was dumped by the DNC. Turner said prior to Tuesday, she was scheduled to speak as part of the nominating and seconding speeches for Bernie Sanders just before the roll-call vote.
“I was told it was going to be me and Tulsi,” Turner said, speaking of Hawaii Rep. Tulsi Gabbard.
But when Turner showed up on Tuesday afternoon, she was told the Clinton campaign did not want her to speak on stage. The reason? “No reason was given,” Turner said.
Despite Sanders’ plea and show of support for Clinton, supporters of his campaign are largely refusing to answer the call. Protesters chanted “lock her up” in the streets. Vocal Sanders supporters booed speakers on stage during the convention.
Celebrities are adding fuel to the fire, too, taking over the DNC media tent on Wednesday to protest the mistreatment of Bernie Sanders and his supporters. Susan Sarandon, Rosario Dawson, Shailene Woodley and Danny Glover have all vocally opposed the treatment of Sanders and his supporters, particularly Nina Turner.
The scene outside the convention center as the president spoke that evening erupted in flames, literally. Protesters lit an American flag on fire, and one woman briefly ignited in flames as she tried to step on the flag.
Thus far, 11 people have been arrested during the protests outside the convention. A total of 69 tickets were issued on Wednesday alone, and 10 of those were for disorderly conduct related to the sit-in protest downtown.
Hillary Clinton will formally accept the Democratic Party’s nomination on Thursday evening, but with so much chaos and unrest surrounding the convention, her acceptance speech may be filled with surprises.
Following the controversies surrounding the DNC, including leaked emails that showed how the DNC colluded to undermine Sanders and his campaign, Clinton’s image is now the worst in 20 years. A new Gallup poll released on Monday showed that just 38% of Americans have a favorable view of Clinton, while 57% have an unfavorable view of the former secretary of state.