Vermonters protest with thousands at Democratic National Convention

Democratic National Convention
Erin Stillson-Wolf of Jonesville chants at the March for Our Lives protest. Photo by Liora Engel-Smith/VTDigger

PHILADELPHIA — Hundreds of Bernie Sanders and Jill Stein supporters marched two miles from City Hall to the Wells Fargo Center on Monday evening under the watchful gaze of dozens of police officers.

The march was organized by the Poor People’s Economic and Human Rights Campaign, a Philadelphia-based organization that fights for social justice. Its organizer, Cheri Honkala, is a Green Party activist and was a vice presidential nominee for the party in 2012.

Erin Stillson-Wolf of Jonesville, Vermont, came to Philadelphia on Friday with her husband and two children. She wanted her children, aged 3 and 10, to march with her, but decided against it because of the stifling heat.

“It is time that we reclaim our democracy,” she said. Among her list of concerns are corporate influence and the existence of superdelegates. The recent move to reduce the number of superdelegates in the Democratic Party by two-thirds, Stillson-Wolf said is not enough. She believes they should be eliminated altogether.

Sarah Dandelions, who lives in the Brattleboro area, marched with three other women from Vermont in support of Bernie Sanders.

Democratic National Convention
Amnesty International observers monitored police during the March for Our Lives protest in Philadelphia during the Democratic National Convention. Photo by Liora Engel-Smith/VTDigger

Marchers chanted, “We are the 99 percent” and “Hell no DNC, we won’t go with Hillary.” They carried Bernie Sanders figures and signs supporting Sanders and Jill Stein.

Many also carried roses. They said the roses were given to them by a Sanders activist who wanted to emphasize peace. “They ground me,” said one marcher.

The march began shortly after 3 p.m., around the start of the convention at the Wells Fargo Center. With segments of Broad Street closed to traffic, some of the delegates who are staying at hotels alongside the protest route could not get to the stadium. Pennsylvania delegate Pasqual Cipolloni said about 20 Pennsylvania, South Carolina and Louisiana delegates were stranded at the hotel around 4 p.m.

Police on bikes accompanied the protesters, periodically stopping and redirecting traffic to protect demonstrators.

Three Amnesty International observers in bright yellow shirts documented the protest on smartphones.

According to Michele Grant of the National Lawyers Guild, teams from the organization have reported the protest was mostly peaceful, but several people were detained because they blocked the entrance to the AT&T subway station, a short distance from the stadium.

Democratic National Convention
Members of the international group Anonymous participated in the March for Our Lives protest in Philadelphia during the Democratic National Convention. Photo by Liora Engel-Smith/VTDigger
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Liora Engel-Smith

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  • Seems like there are TWO nominees and only one is a Democrat, so if you detract a vote from that candidate it ups the potential for the Republican. Now that we have that in clear narrative, let’s try something a little trickier for those suffering from even deeper denial…..

    • timothy price

      Only one is a Democrat… and only one is a criminal… so far as we know. Clinton, DNC, Wasserman-Schultz are all exposed, once again, engaged in fraud, vote rigging, favoritism of one candidate while sabotaging the other…. who is prosecuting these crimes? Where is the Vermont Democratic Party??? Happy to see there ONE DEMOCRATIC chosen, hook or by crook. Yes, that is the Vermont Democratic Party that I have come to know and loath.

  • Anne Dickerson

    When I see these parents that take or plan on taking their young children to these protests or rallies that might turn violent it boggles my mind. I wonder what they can be thinking of. Even in the calmest of protests there are people running around all packed together and even adults are in some amount of danger to say nothing of small children. Kids could even get separated from their parent…then what? Again I say, what are these people thing of? You might think you are a great politician but I personally think you are a lousy parent!

    • Linda Maloney

      I have been in Philly since Saturday, attended the climate march and have observed others. You should know that (except for the heat; we can’t help that, but there are hydrating stations everywhere) these marches are models of what such things should be. The Philadelphia administration and its police force deserve medals for behaving as models of their profession. No riot gear. Police officers close the streets ahead of and behind marchers, then re-open them after the march has passed and the street sweepers have done their job (though by nature, this is a non-messy protest). No parent need be apprehensive. There has been no pushing, shoving, jostling, or hostility. It’s a Bernie-style family affair! We are disappointed, but proud of the work we have done and will go on doing.

  • timothy price