Citations and heat injuries as DNC protests continue
Thousands of protesters filled Center City's streets Monday, chanting and singing in brutal heat and humidity, increasingly outraged over an email hack that they said revealed the Democratic National Convention had worked to deny Bernie Sanders the nomination.
Outside the Wells Fargo Center, dozens climbed calmly over police lines and were placed in zip-tie handcuffs by bicycle officers, as dozens more pressed close in the stifling heat to film them. (No arrests were made; 54 people received citations for disorderly conduct.) For three hours, police shut down the southbound lines of the nearby subway station to all but credentialed convention-goers.
A few hours later, torrential downpours and a flash flood warning sent protesters running north to shelter, past the still-closed Broad and Pattison Avenues station, as lines of bike cops snaked past. Thousands of protesters who had spent the day in the streets and the evening chanting at delegates that "Bernie beats Trump!" ran for the subways, to waiting cars or to awnings outside the few businesses on South Broad outside the convention's security fencing.
Generally, relations between police and protesters were relatively benign, with crowds being corralled by officers dressed polos and shorts and bike helmets as opposed to riot gear.
"I go wherever Bernie takes me," said Oscar Salazar, 21, in footie pajamas emblazoned with the Vermont senator's face.
Protesters were overwhelmingly pro-Sanders and vehemently against the presumptive Democratic nominee. Chants of "Lock her up" -- a favorite anti-Hillary Clinton slogan at last week's Republican National Convention -- echoed periodically outside the Wells Fargo Center. Protesters contended that Clinton was corrupt, the leaked emails showed it, and that their candidate had been robbed.
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Sanders delegates were planning a protest of their own, with the Bernie Delegates Network telling reporters Monday they hope to launch a floor fight against vice presidential nominee Sen. Tim Kaine and nominate their own candidate. Debbie Wasserman-Schultz, the embattled ex-DNC chair who stepped down amidst the email scandal, was booed at a convention breakfast.
Throughout the day, thousands on separate marches made their way, loudly but peacefully, down Broad Street to the convention. Immigrant activists calling for an end to deportations. Anti-poverty activists waving enormous green flags. Free Mumia protesters. Minimum-wage workers advocating for higher pay. A group of protesters who took issue with a Mississippi flag flying on South Broad -- the flag features a small Confederate flag design -- and demonstrated until city officials took it down.
Outside the convention, John Jarecki, 38, of Omaha, Neb., wore a giant Sanders effigy on his back and weaved through the crowd as protesters chanted "Hell, no, DNC, we won't vote for Hillary!"
"I figured I'd follow through to the convention no matter what," he said. He thinks only Sanders could beat Donald Trump in the fall -- if only the superdelegates would let him take the nomination. "Come November, it will be on the superdelegates."
Democracy Spring, which has a platform of abolishing superdelegates and publicly funding elections, organized a mass crossing of police lines outside the Wells Fargo Center later that afternoon. They crowded into the metal barricade that police had placed between several hundred protesters and the entrance to the subway station.
Further back, 12-foot-high security fences lined the delegates' route into the convention.
Desiree Kane, 34, the group's spokesperson, said the plan was to disrupt the DNC with "nonviolent escalation." She complained they'd been greeted aggressively by police and escorted out of a rules committee session at the convention center earlier today.
The Democracy Spring protesters had trained for civil disobedience and said they were prepared to do "what's necessary" to protest a political system that they believe has become an oligarchy, according to protester Josephine Millard, a University of Washington student from New Jersey.
Then another protester hoisted himself over the fence. Two police officers placed him in zip-tie handcuffs and led him off. The crowd continued to chant.
As of 6:44 p.m., Philadelphia police said there had been 55 people cited for code violations, but no arrests. The 32 men and 23 women were cited for disorderly conduct, a police spokesman said.
Across the street, in Franklin D. Roosevelt Park -- where throngs of Sanders supporters camped out through storms Sunday night, and where various progressive speakers took the stage all day -- protesters were out in full force with a familiar message: Hillary Clinton could not be president.
But the moments of fierce anti-Hillary sentiments came in waves throughout the day. In some moments, the Bernie supporters at FDR park - which they dubbed Monday morning as "Bern-stock" - were largely peaceful as campers swayed to Beatles songs, shared tents, and made signs supporting Bernie on scraps of cardboard. Dozens of officers, standing silently, stretched along the perimeter of the park, where pro-police groups, anti-police groups, street preachers, a 9/11 conspiracy theorist and a few lone Trump supporters passed the day.
"A lot of us feel like we have this kinship because of Bernie," said 25-year-old Samantha Peden, who walked for two months from Colorado to FDR, settling at a campsite under a gazebo with her husband Josh Mowbray. "It's like a big family reunion."
Like many campers Monday, Peden said she plans to write in Sanders in November.
Mary Shumay, a 55-year-old Cleveland resident who raised nearly $400 on the website GoFundMe to get to Philadelphia, said she would be writing in Sanders, too.
"The DNC rigged this election, but with Bernie, we can take it back," said Shumay, who, on Monday morning in the park sported a Sanders hat and a button that read, 'The Storm is Coming.'
The storm did come that night, as protesters in FDR Park awaited Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein's speech. Bedraggled, they hightailed it up Broad Street in twos and threes, The drenched members of the Revolutionary Communist Party, marching single file, handed out fliers that disintegrated in the rain.
And when the rain cleared, a few protesters made their way back to the security barriers where they had spent most of the day, and shouted a familiar refrain through the wet fences: "Hell no, Hillary!"
Staff writers Michaelle Bond, Tricia L. Nadolny, and Jason Laughlin contributed to this report.
[Updated: A previous version of this post cited police saying 55 people were cited. They later said it was 54.]