DNC protests fizzle in face of exhaustion, storms, Clinton reality
In the end, it was hardly Days of Rage. After protesters breached security fences, blocked entrances, and stood, hundreds strong, outside the Wells Fargo Center each night of the Democratic National Convention, police and delegates braced for another evening of raucous demonstrations as Hillary Clinton prepared to take the stage Thursday.
In the end, it was hardly Days of Rage.
After protesters breached security fences, blocked entrances, and stood, hundreds strong, outside the Wells Fargo Center each night of the Democratic National Convention, police and delegates braced for another evening of raucous demonstrations as Hillary Clinton prepared to take the stage Thursday.
A crowd of upwards of 500 did, indeed, swell again outside the convention site Thursday night, and chanted "Feel the Bern" near the security fences. It was loud but calmer than the night before.
It was that way throughout the day, with smatterings of dissent that held out, even as severe thunderstorms rumbled into the city.
The week had largely proven peaceful. By Thursday evening, Philadelphia police had issued 103 citations and the Secret Service had arrested 11 people for jumping over security fences, police said. Only five of those cited were from the Philadelphia area, according to Police Commissioner Richard Ross.
Nine of the arrested demonstrators were released by a U.S. magistrate judge Wednesday and Thursday. Another, a Rhode Island man found with three "throwing knives" as he breached an eight-foot security fence surrounding the Wells Fargo Center, will have to stand trial, and the last will appear in court Friday.
After rowdy crowds roiled Broad Street outside the convention venue Tuesday and Wednesday nights, the reality of Hillary Clinton's nomination had many protesters subdued.
At Franklin D. Roosevelt Park near the Wells Fargo Center, Sanders super-fans who had camped in the grass all week were packing up Thursday to go home.
"No one should be surprised," said a 27-year-old Sanders supporter who identified himself as Chris America. He held a sign for Jill Stein, the Green Party candidate, that stood more than 10 feet high. "Because deep down, everyone knew what was going to happen."
As the rain slowed and evening neared, the crowd still at FDR Park relaxed.
"It's about keeping the mood upbeat and easing tension," said Jonah Lipman-Stern, 27, of West Philadelphia.
Some dogged activists persisted. About 60 marijuana-legalization advocates marched in the rain near the Wells Fargo Center late Thursday afternoon.
And about 200 people gathered at a Black Men for Bernie rally at Philadelphia's Municipal Services Building.
Throughout the afternoon, organizers distributed slips of paper to protesters, asking for their names and emails so the group could formally de-register them from the Democratic Party.
"We no longer belong to you!" shouted Bruce Carter, founder of the Black Men for Bernie movement, about the Democratic Party. "We are free from being tricked, manipulated, and then told to take it anyway."
Lori Miller, a Wisconsin delegate pledged to Sanders, said she turned in her credentials out of protest Thursday morning after Wisconsin Democrats asked the delegation not to protest during the night's convention.
"I told them I wanted nothing to do with the Democratic Party because of how corrupt they are," she said.
Still, earlier Thursday, a coalition of Sanders delegates said it was time to look toward the November election.
"Trump needs to be defeated," said Norman Solomon, head of the Bernie Delegates Network, at a briefing Thursday. "Alas, the only way to do that is for people in swing states to vote for Hillary Clinton."
In Pennsylvania, a key swing state, Clinton would need to sweep the Philadelphia area and comfortably win some swing counties to secure the state, said Chuck Pennacchio, a Bucks County Sanders delegate and professor at the University of the Arts in Philadelphia.
"It's going to take her convincing us that she's going to do right by the party platform," he said.
After Sanders spoke Monday in support of Clinton and urged supporters not to protest convention speakers, some of the protests predicted for later in the week did not materialize. Though Sanders delegates walked out after the roll-call vote that made Clinton the party's nominee, they did not organize a protest during vice presidential pick Tim Kaine's speech Wednesday night, as some had discussed. The delegates network also failed to put forth a different vice presidential candidate, as it had promised to do at the beginning of the week.
Sean Ferris of Jefferson, N.J., camped out at FDR Park this week with Sanders fans. He is planning to vote for Stein, but "if I were in a swing state, I would think a lot harder," he said.
A few blocks north, outside the Wells Fargo Center, protesters let out a few sporadic, now-familiar chants, including "Hell no, DNC. We won't vote for Hillary."
Their numbers grew to 400 to 500 throughout Thursday evening, after the rain stopped. Sanders supporters sold T-shirts that said "Hillary for Prison" and "Feel the Bern." At one point, a small group unsuccessfully tried to set fire to an American flag.
Ross came strolling down South Broad Street toward Pattison Avenue just before 9 p.m., looking relaxed under a light rain. He said he was hopeful the night, and the convention, would end well.
"I'm looking for peace, tranquility, and all of the above," Ross said.
Hundreds of protesters milled around near the security fence that was breached the night before, well-matched, now, by police.
Contributing to this article were staff writers Jeremy Roebuck, Steve Bohnel, Chris Palmer, Jason Nark, and Michaelle Bond.