Things didn't go so well for Bernie Sanders when he stopped today in Seattle for a rally and was once again confronted by Black Lives Matters activists on the one-year anniversary of Michael Brown's death in Ferguson, Missouri.
A planned speech in Seattle by presidential hopeful Bernie Sanders celebrating the anniversary of Social Security and Medicare was scuttled Saturday after protesters from Black Lives Matter took the stage and demanded that the crowd hold Sanders “accountable” for not doing enough, in their view, to address police brutality and other issues on the group’s agenda.
Sanders, who has emerged as the leading alternative to Hillary Rodham Clinton for the Democratic nomination, was the final speaker scheduled on a long program. Shortly after the senator from Vermont started speaking, a small group of protesters took the microphone, shared a series of local grievances with the crowd, including school disparities and gentrification in Seattle, and then asked for a period of silence to commemorate the one-year anniversary of Michael Brown being shot and killed during a confrontation with a police officer in Ferguson, Mo.
Organizers allowed the period of silence, as some in the large crowd booed and shouted for the protesters to leave the stage. Afterward, Marrisa Janae Johnson, a leader of the Black Lives Matter movement in Seattle, asked the crowd to “join us now in holding Bernie Sanders accountable for his actions.” She motioned for Sanders to join her at the microphone.
After several minutes of frantic conversations, Sanders left the stage and greeted people in the large crowd who had turned out to see him. Many chanted his name.
The tense scene, which was streamed live by a Seattle television station, was reminiscent of one July 18 in Phoenix, when a larger group of Black Lives Matter activists disrupted a Democratic presidential forum at the liberal Netroots Nation gathering that featured both Sanders and former Maryland governor Martin O’Malley.
Bernie left the stage rather than deal with the activists. For the second time in as many months. The Black Lives Matter Seattle chapter did apologize on Twitter for the incident, but that hasn't stopped the Sanders people from going nuts.
The irony is that it's the Sanders people who demanded that Democrats needed "a real debate" among the candidates on the issues rather than simply staying silent as witnesses to a Hillary Clinton coronation.
They got the debate. It wasn't the one the Sanders people wanted, now is it?