PHILADELPHIA — Protesters loyal to Bernie Sanders signaled their intent to leave the Democratic Party after front-runner Hillary Clinton on Tuesday won the presidential nomination.
Thousands of activists have taken to the streets in Philadelphia during the convention this week to voice support for Sanders and his progressive agenda.
Cries of “Nah, nah, nah, nah, hey, hey, hey, goodbye,” went up from demonstrators near the Wells Fargo Center, after party delegates Tuesday evening made Clinton the first woman nominee for president of a major political party.
Unmoved by Sanders’ plea for party unity, the protesters chanted “Bernie or bust!” as they marched under the hot sun Tuesday for another round of protests on Day 2 of the Democratic convention.
They held a midday rally at City Hall, then made their way down Broad Street to the convention site. By early evening, a large crowd had formed outside the subway station closest to the Wells Fargo Center as the delegates inside the hall were on the verge of nominating Clinton for president.
The crowd consisted of an assortment of protesters espousing a variety of causes, but mostly Sanders supporters and other Clinton foes on the left.
Some gathered around a radio to hear what was happening inside the hall, and when Clinton’s name was placed in nomination, a chant of “Nominate Sanders!” went up. Some went off to sit on the grass and watch the roll call on a couple of big screens.
Earlier in the day, participants at the rally charged that Sanders was cheated out of the nomination by Clinton, and they said they weren’t swayed by his Monday night plea to his supporters to fall in line behind Clinton for the good of the country.
“He persuaded no one to vote for Hillary,” said Greg Gregg, a retired 69-year-old nurse from Salem, Oregon. He said he intends to cast his ballot in November for Green Party candidate Jill Stein, quoting the turn-of-the-last-century socialist labor leader Eugene Debs as saying, “I’d rather vote for what I want and lose than what I don’t want and win.”
For a brief period Tuesday afternoon, “Bernie or bust” demonstrators who set out for the convention site by subway were forced by police to get off one stop short of their destination. In a crowd-control measure that was also used the night before, only passengers with media or convention credentials were allowed to ride all the way to the Wells Fargo Center.
The longstanding bitterness between the Vermont senator’s supporters and Clinton’s seemed to grow worse over the past few days after a trove of hacked emails showed that officials at the Democratic National Committee played favorites during the primaries and worked to undermine Sanders’ campaign.
Black Men for Bernie founder Bruce Carter said Monday’s speeches from Sanders and Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren did not persuade him to support Clinton.
“They really agitate people more every time they stand up and do the Hillary Clinton, hoo-rah hoo-rah,” he said. Carter, a Dallas resident, said he doesn’t fear a Donald Trump presidency: “I’ve lived under nine white presidents in my lifetime.”
With temperatures climbing again toward the mid-90s, Chris Scully, a 28-year-old an engineer from Troy, New York, held a “Jill Before Hill” sign outside City Hall and said he opposes Clinton because of her war record as secretary of state.
As Scully spoke, a passer-by called out: “That’s a vote for Trump!”
In a separate protest, this one against police brutality and racial injustice, about 500 people marched down Broad Street to City Hall. Protest leader Erica Mines told the crowd it was an “anti-police rally” and a “black and brown resistance march” and instructed all white people to move to the back.
The crowd chanted, “Don’t vote for Hillary! She’s killing black people!”
March participant Tiara Willis, 24, of Philadelphia, said she subscribes to the slogan “I’m with her … I guess.” She said she won’t back Trump and called Clinton “the lesser of two evils.”
On Monday evening, 54 people were cited for disorderly conduct for trying to climb the barricades outside the convention center during a pro-Sanders demonstration. Police estimated 5,500 people took part in the convention’s opening-day protests around the city.
Many of them chanted, “Hey, hey, ho, ho, the DNC has got to go!” and carried signs reading “Never Hillary,” ”Just Go to Jail Hillary” and “You Lost Me at Hillary.”