Pro-Sanders demonstrators march in the sweltering heat

Demonstrators make their way around downtown Monday in Philadelphia, during the first day of the Democratic National Convention. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)

Demonstrators make their way around downtown Monday in Philadelphia, during the first day of the Democratic National Convention. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)

PHILADELPHIA — Several hundred Bernie Sanders supporters and other demonstrators marched down Philadelphia’s sweltering Broad Street on the opening day of the Democratic convention Monday, chanting “Nominate Sanders or lose in November!” and “Hey, hey, ho, ho, the DNC has got to go!”

The marchers made their way from City Hall toward the convention hall, 4 miles away in south Philadelphia. As the crowd near the convention hall grew during the evening, demonstrators began pressing against police barriers. Police moved metal fences into place and closed the nearest subway station to arriving trains.

There was no immediate word of any arrests.

One of the protesters, 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 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.

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.

Although planned for months, the marches came as fissures widened in the party. Debbie Wasserman Schultz resigned Sunday as Democratic Party chairwoman over leaked emails suggesting the supposedly neutral Democratic National Committee played favorites for Clinton during the primaries and bad-mouthed Sanders.

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.”

Philadelphia Police Commissioner Richard Ross was again on scene of the protests, watching as he did on Sunday as officers directed traffic and kept protesters confined to the sidewalks.

Ross said that Sunday’s marches involving thousands of people were “like a scrimmage game” and that while the protests will only get bigger, he was pleased with how respectful the demonstrators have been.

Protest organizers have been thanking police and urging demonstrators not to litter.

But tensions rose Monday when about 50 marchers sat on the street and refused to move unless the Mississippi state flag with the Confederate emblem was taken down from a lamppost. The flags of all 50 states fly from light poles flanking Broad Street.

Two officers stood in front of the lamppost, not allowing anyone to climb it, as hecklers jeered: “Think for yourself. Be a real man.”

City officials later agreed to remove the flag Monday night.

The four-day convention is being held at the Wells Fargo Center, well removed from City Hall and the skyscrapers of Center City.

By 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.Bernie Sandersdebbie wasserman schultzDemocratic National ConventiondemonstratorsHillary ClintonPhiladelphiaPro-SandersUS

If you find our journalism valuable and relevant, please consider joining our Examiner membership program.
Find out more at

Just Posted

The J Church train could begin running again later this month on at least part of its surface route. (Mira Laing/Special to S.F. Examiner)
First Muni trains will return to service Dec. 19

Three additional bus routes coming back online in January

Smoking cannabis. (Shutterstock)
Supes ban tobacco smoking in apartments but exempt cannabis

San Francisco banned smoking and vaping of tobacco in apartments Tuesday night,… Continue reading

Dr. Grant Colfax and Mayor London Breed said new restrictions could come this week due to rising COVID-19 cases.<ins> (Examiner screenshot)</ins>
Breed: ‘More restrictive action’ needed to slow spread of COVID-19

San Francisco officials said Tuesday tougher restrictions will soon be imposed to… Continue reading

Many landlords fought the proposal requiring them to register properties, calling it an invasion of privacy. 
Kevin N. Hume/
S.F. Examiner
Housing inventory wins unanimous approval from supervisors

Legislation will require landlords to register properties, report vacancies and rents

Harlan Kelly, head of the SFPUC and husband to City Administrator Naomi Kelly (right), faces federal charges for allegedly trading inside information on a city contract in return for a paid family vacation. (Courtesy photo)
Harlan Kelly, head of SFPUC, charged with fraud in widening Nuru scandal

Kelly accused of engaging in corrupt partnership with permit expediter

Most Read