A ‘Clintonville’ and a ‘fart-in’: Here are some protests planned during the Democratic convention
The protests outside the Republican convention in Cleveland were tamer than expected, but that does not mean the Democratic National Convention will follow suit.
Protesters are gearing up for marches and demonstrations in Philadelphia to draw attention to issues that they say both parties ignore and to protest Hillary Clinton’s nomination for president when a vocal minority would rather see the Democrats choose Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders.
Here’s a look at some of the protests expected this week:
Constructing a ‘Clintonville’
In the 30 years that Cheri Honkala, a national organizer for the Poor People’s Economic Human Rights Campaign, has been in her line of work, the outlook has never been this bad.
“We don’t have any hope anymore in any political party,” said Honkala, who was the Green Party’s vice presidential candidate in 2012 and is seeking to improve access to education, healthcare and jobs for the poor.
That’s why her group is planning several demonstrations during the DNC, including a march that Green Party candidate Jill Stein will partake in, sleeping in the “Clintonville” — a tent city — and organizing a national “fart-in” to symbolize how much both parties stink.
“A lot of us are not with her,” Honkala said, referencing one of Clinton’s campaign slogans. “Actually, our whole march isn’t.”
The “Clintonville” is being used to show how people have to be resourceful when they have few resources, according to Honkala. The settlement will be in Philadelphia’s Kensington neighborhood, which has been marred by drugs and crime.
Kensington’s residents were dependent on welfare, but the cuts during Bill Clinton’s presidency created a vacuum, one that income from selling drugs filled, according to Honkala.
Honkala wants to see the country overhaul its political party system.
Action on immigration
Some protesters are voicing their concerns now in the hope that Clinton will start acting on her promises before the general election.
Demonstrators will march with a mobile mural that depicts the faces of immigration policy to better illustrate the issues and challenges facing the Latino community, said Erika Almiron, the executive director of Juntos, an immigrant rights organization based in south Philadelphia.
“In this moment, there’s more that [President] Obama can still do” before he leaves office, Almiron said. Juntos has called on him to close a center in Pennsylvania that houses immigrant families seeking asylum. Advocates have said they are unjustly confined.
“The best way to remove the fear of deportation is to end the threat of it,” Almiron said in a statement announcing the march.
According to Almiron, Clinton is no longer in a position where she “doesn’t have to say what she’s going to do,” but that she can start tackling issues ahead of the general election.
Ambassadors for protesters
Some groups will act more as guides for protesters by canvassing marches to hand out schedules of events and maps of the area. The DNC Action Committee, which is not affiliated with the party or the convention, will be working to make sure protesters can freely express themselves. Their website offers information on finding housing and navigating Philadelphia.
“We want people to know we’re not a bunch of mindless rabble-rousers,” said Drew Geliebter, an organizer with the committee.
Geliebter said the committee is not affiliated with or supporting any particular candidate, rather, it is an “amalgamation of various groups and causes.” He referred to the committee as “a platform for justice,” working to address issues affecting Philadelphia and the country at large.
City officials: We’re ready
The CEO of the Democratic National Convention told reporters last month that she recognized the “distinct opportunity” to make the DNC stand out compared with the Republican National Convention.
Leah Daughtry dubbed the RNC “the chaos in Cleveland” before it actually started.
"We know that the world is watching," she said in Washington. "We are committed to building a convention that is reflective of America."
Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney said at the same news conference that the city was fully prepared to let people protest.
“You do your best to keep the peace,” he said, adding that police officers would be on bicycles to canvass the area surrounding the convention.
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