A routine political-nerd event devolved into chaos over the weekend, as pro-Palestine protesters mobbed a convention center, ending several speeches early and shutting down the convention’s Saturday night proceedings.
The California Democratic Endorsing Convention is normally little-noticed beyond just the political junkies who attend to listen to speeches, clap politely, and break down into delegate and caucus groups to make endorsements. That convention was held in Sacramento this weekend, but attendees got a lot more than they bargained for. Politico reports that hundreds of pro-Palestinian and pro-ceasefire protesters managed to storm the convention center and shut down the events schedule for Saturday night, in footage that can be seen below.
Convention organizers had expected some degree of protests, but did not expect to have to cancel events. “Due to circumstances beyond our control and for the safety and security of our delegates and convention participants we are canceling tonight’s caucus meetings, hospitality suites, and Votefest taking place at the convention center,” California Democratic Party communications director Shery Vang said in a statement picked up by KRON4.
California Democrats just shut down Adam Schiff’s speech to demand a #CEASEFIRENOW.— Gen-Z for Change (@genzforchange) November 18, 2023
If you haven’t already, call your representatives and demand their support for a CEASEFIRE NOW!!! pic.twitter.com/nKw0vKKdN8
There were not any violent scuffles or anything like that, but as a separate Politico report notes, demonstrators disrupted on-stage interviews with Reps. Adams Schiff and Katie Porter. Both are running for the late Dianne Feinstein’s Senate seat, and neither supports a ceasefire in the Israel-Gaza conflict. East Bay Rep. Barbara Lee, who’s also running for that seat, supports a ceasefire, and was not shouted down.
The protesters were also able to block a few caucus meetings, though things appear to have resumed as normal for the final day of the endorsing convention Sunday.
“Whether or not anything materially gets done tonight, whether or not we move the politicians on a cease-fire,” an activist named Suzanne Ali told Politico Saturday night, “we continue to show them that the masses of people here and globally stand with Palestinians and demand a cease-fire.”
No business as usual yesterday at the California Democratic Convention. Multiple pro-Palestine actions were held inside & outside the convention which eventually led to it being shut down. #CeaseFireNow pic.twitter.com/9NZBR7gS2H— Authentically Oakland (@ChaneyTurner) November 19, 2023
Saturday was reminiscent of, though not nearly as violent as a Wednesday protest Washington, D.C., where protesters calling for a ceasefire surrounded Democratic National Committee (DNC) headquarters, and where reportedly six police officers needed medical treatment after being pepper-sprayed, cut, or punched.
Image: @krystal__001 via Twitter