PHILADELPHIA — As delegates overwhelmingly cast their votes for Hillary Clinton's history making presidential nomination on Tuesday, thousands of protesters — many of them Bernie Sanders supporters — kept up the call to “shut down" the Democratic convention.
Gathering outside Philadelphia City Hall, protesters rallied around a melange of causes represented with signs like “Black Lives Matter,” “Decolonize the DNC,” “Bernie or Bust,” and “Stop Israeli War Crimes” bopping in the air.
Among the crowd, there was chatter about what was happening less than four miles away at the Wells Fargo Center where Sanders finished off the roll call vote, which he'd already lost, with a unifying gesture to nominate Clinton by acclimation.
Afterward, a large number of Sanders' delegates walked out of the hall and staged a sit-in at the media tent.
They chanted, "This is what Democracy looks like."
Although some Sanders delegates came over to Clinton’s side after his convention speech endorsing her Monday night, many protesters wanted Sanders and the party to know that they weren’t going away.
And for those who couldn't get into the convention hall, this was their only way of expressing themselves.
Joan Horton of Kingston, New York, was there proudly holding her blue “Bernie” sign. She said she wasn’t swayed by Sanders’ speech to the convention.
This is a catch-all protest by City Hall. Bernie supporters, BLM, Code Pink all here #DemsInPhilly pic.twitter.com/m9piB4meOk — Simone Pathe (@sfpathe) July 26, 2016
“I’m in New York, so I can easily vote for Jill Stein,” she said alluding to the Green Party presidential candidate. Horton has been offered a position as a local Democratic Party chairwoman back in New York, but she’s still trying to decide whether she wants to continue in the party or return to the Green Party.
Kathleen Nishida, 52, of Philadelphia said she isn’t a “Hillary Clinton hater.” But she’s not yet ready to vote for her. She was at the march, wearing her "Bernie" pin, standing outside City Hall.
Nishida is torn, though. Part of her wants to vote for a female president. “I voted for Bernie Sanders, but it was hard for me,” she said.
And yet, Clinton leaves something to be desired for Nishida. “I don’t feel impassioned by her campaign,” she said. And the recent email leaks from the Democratic National Committee only exacerbated her uncertainty.
She said she’ll probably vote for Clinton, but she’s also seriously considering voting for Stein. Does it worry her that a vote for a third-party candidate could boost Donald Trump?
“In the past, I’ve thought strategically. I realize that it may play out in a way that’s dangerous to our society,” she said. “But it needs to change.”
The prospect of electing the first female president also holds a certain appeal for Julie Olsen, 59, a Sanders supporter from Anchorage, Alaska. She hasn’t decided whom she’ll vote for in November.
She felt inspired to vote for Clinton by a women’s caucus event she attended Tuesday morning with the incoming interim DNC chairwoman Donna Brazile, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright.
“It almost got me,” she said. But she’s still not there.
And is there anything Clinton could say to get her there? “No, because I don’t believe her,” she said.
Around 6 p.m., thousands of protesters who’d marched from elsewhere in the city arrived at City Hall and joined the crowd to march down to the Wells Fargo Center.
Several protesters hoisted a coffin emblazoned with donkeys in the air, pausing in front of the intersection with a side street to block traffic.