Black Lives Matter has supposedly interrupted yet another Bernie Sanders rally today in Seattle. Bernie was invited to speak on Social Security and as he approached the podium, the forum was hijacked by protesters that would not allow it to proceed except under their conditions. They started by demanding the audience pay attention to what they have to say, amid boos and hisses from the crowd. Next they started to talk about how racist the city of Seattle was, and then followed up by demanding 4 and 1/2 minutes of silence for Mike Brown, who was shot dead in Ferguson by Officer Darren Wilson (who by walking free of consequences, lead to the Ferguson Riots immediately following the announcement).
After the period of silence, the protesters started going directly after Bernie, by saying they wanted to hold him accountable for “failing to address their concerns” when they previously hijacked his speech at south by southwest earlier this summer. After refusing to turn control of the rally back over to the organizers and Bernie, the organizer of the event declared it closed.
Bernie, as he was exiting the venue, met with a lot of the people that had been there for hours waiting for him to speak, and he had urged whoever could attend to show up at the 7pm rally being held later that day. The Sanders campaign issued this statement from Bernie:
I was especially disappointed because on criminal justice reform and the need to fight racism there is no other candidate for president who will fight harder than me “
He also added that he was very disappointed that the thousands that had showed up to hear him speak were denied this, when he was asked to speak on preserving Medicare and Social Security.
A group of Seattle police on bike and foot monitored the event, but no arrests were made. Detective Patrick Michaud of the Seattle Police said rally organizers “asked us not to move up and make any arrests.”
This is the second time now that someone claiming to be from BLM has interrupted Sanders, which is very very strange since Bernie has been speaking so strongly on criminal justice reform, and the demilitarization of our police forces in America. A statement from a local Seattle Black Lives Matter affiliate has already said that today’s protesters were NOT associated with the movement as well, so it is hard to say where this recent interruption came from.
Friends, we can’t allow this to keep happening. BLM needs to sit down and take the time to read about Bernie’s track record of fighting for civil rights, and addressing institutional economic racism. Just because he doesn’t engage in their theatrics on the stage, hijacking organized events, does not mean he does not care about them or their concerns. It seems like this movement is being co-opted by a few folks that want to get attention and this is unfortunate because the movement carries an important message and has a good purpose. Stop by the BLM Facebook page or twitter account, and urge them to take some time and get to know Bernie before they call him “useless” in regards to their grievances.