Black Lives Matter Activists Disrupt Sanders Rally
The incident happened yesterday at Seattle’s Westlake Park:
A Seattle speech by Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders was pre-empted in a chaotic confrontation Saturday afternoon with a pair of Black Lives Matter protesters, who took the stage and refused to let him speak.
The Vermont senator, who has drawn huge crowds around the country, was to be the star attraction and final speaker for a rally at Westlake Park to celebrate the 80th birthday of Social Security and the success of other anti-poverty programs.
But his afternoon plans were scuttled by protesters determined to turn attention instead to Sunday’s anniversary of the shooting by a white police officer of Michael Brown, an unarmed black man in Ferguson, Mo.
Later in the evening, Sanders received the reception he’d expected from the Seattle area as the progressive alternative to Democratic presidential front-runner Hillary Rodham Clinton.
An eyewitness detailed the disruption at Daily Kos:
While giving a speech on Social Security in Seattle, Bernie Sanders was again shouted down by Black Lives Matter activists.
Bernie’s response? He stood by and let them take the microphone. He waited patiently while activists demanded a four and a half minute moment of silence for Michael Brown. Bernie gives them their four and a half minutes, but the activists continued to refuse to relinquish the microphone. One memorable quote was the activists claiming the entire crowd were “white supremacist liberals”. Activists also demanded that Bernie apologize for the fiasco at Netroots Nation some weeks back.
In the end, Bernie Sanders was unable to make his remarks, and he left the stage after negotiations with the activists failed.
A second witness added:
Bernie didn’t get three words out before the women from BLM started demanding the opportunity to speak. [Rally organizer Robby Stern] tried to reason with them to wait their turn, but they became verbally abusive, so he gave them the mic. Bernie and his wife stepped to the side while one woman spoke. When [Stern] tried to get the mic back, she insisted that everyone stop for a moment of silence in memory of Michael Brown, which she explained meant 4 1/2 minutes, to represent the 4 1/2 hours Michael Brown’s body lay in the street. Initially, the crowd protested, but eventually did as she requested. After that, she demanded that Bernie come over to her, speaking to him as if speaking to a dog. He stayed where he was. Then a woman who I think was part of the program began to explain that the program was about Social Security and Medicare and tried to make the connection between those programs and PoC. Then the man in charge spoke with Bernie, and Bernie and his wife made their way through the crowd, shaking hands with people along the way. Presented without commentary.