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.
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.