Pro-ceasefire protesters swarm Democratic convention
A swarm of thousands of demonstrators upended the California Democratic Convention Saturday, calling on party leaders to demand a ceasefire in Gaza as they blocked Sacramento roads, interrupting proceedings, and causing officials to cancel planned events Saturday.
The protest began when several hundred people staged a sit-in at inside the Safe Credit Union Convention Center building, and quickly swelled as some 2,500 other swarmed the area, according to CBS’s local affiliate.
Security locked down entrances to the building amid the party convention, shouting slogans like “Cease-fire now, Cease-fire now,” The Los Angeles Times reported.
At one point, demonstrators reportedly interrupted interviews with Reps. Katie Porter and Adam Schiff as well as technology guru Lexi Reese, all three of whom are vying for the Golden State Senate seat.
Rep. Barbara Lee, who has endorsed a ceasefire, did not endure major heckling during her time on stage at the SAFE Credit Union Convention Center in Sacramento.
In response to the mayhem, officials scrapped some meetings and parties planned for later in the evening “for the safety and security of our delegates and convention participants”, the Times said.
Some of the protesters directed their ire at President Joe Biden, dubbing him “Genocide Joe” and saying that “bombing hospitals and children is a crime,” per the report.
The demonstrations had begun blocks away and some attendees were frustrated that the protesters were able to storm the building without registering.
It mirrored a similar phenomenon at the Democratic National Committee headquarters in Washington, DC last Wednesday where demonstrators clashed with Capitol Police.
Those demonstrators similarly demanded a ceasefire in the Israeli war against Hamas and their protest prompted top House Democrats to flee the scene.
The ordeal illustrated the growing schism within the party over the war in Israel that began with Hamas’ bloody surprise Oct. 7 attack.
At least 1,200 Israeli’s have been killed, according to the nation’s latest revised numbers. Over 11,500 Palestinians are estimated to have been killed, per the Hamas-controlled Gaza Health Ministry, which has faced concerns about trustworthiness.
Amid the bitter war, there have been reports suggesting Hamas and Israel are nearing a hostage deal, but nothing appears to be finalized just yet.
Despite the upheaval in Sacramento, California Democrats managed to work through their endorsement process for the Senate.
Ultimately no one crossed the 60% threshold needed to lock down that coveted endorsement.
Lee came up the strongest with 41.47% support, followed by Schiff at 40.18%, Porter at 16.06%, and Reese at 0.13%.
California’s Senate primary is shaping up to be one of the most expensive battles for an upper chamber seat of the 2024 election cycle.
Those four Democrats are jockeying to lay claim to the former seat of Sen. Diane Feinstein, who died in September. It has been temporarily filled by Laphonza Butler, who indicated she won’t run to defend it in this cycle.
Under California’s system, the top two vote-getters in the primary advance to the general election, regardless of party. This was the case in 2016, when then-attorney general Kamala Harris battled then-Rep. Loretta Sanchez (D-Calif.).
Democrats must defend 23 Senate seats in the 2024 cycle, compared to the 11 Republicans must safeguard. Democrats have a slim 51 to 49 seat majority.