California Democratic Convention events canceled after interruptions from pro-Palestine demonstrators

Hundreds of Pro-Palestine demonstrators interrupted California Democrats’ convention on Saturday in Sacramento to call for a cease-fire in Gaza, eventually forcing the cancellation of evening events.

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“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,” Shery Yang, the communications director for the California Democrats told KCRA 3 in a statement. “More information for tomorrow’s General Session will be shared this evening.”

The cancelation was the culmination of a day of protests inside and outside the SAFE Credit Union Convention Center, where Democrats were meeting to vote on a U.S. Senate endorsement and to adopt an official party platform.

“They shut it down because a lot of protesters kind of went in and they weren’t able to check them. I can understand that,” said Fatima Iqbal-Zubair, chair of the progressive caucus. “That’s what happens sometimes when you have civil disobedience.”

She said a “disruption has to happen in a democracy for something drastic to change.”

Three congressional representatives running for California’s open United States Senate seat were speaking at the event on Saturday afternoon, U.S. Reps. Katie Porter, Adam Schiff and Barbara Lee.

Protesters demanding a cease-fire disrupted each of their speeches, The Associated Press reported.

After protesters interrupted Porter’s speech, KCRA 3’s Michelle Bandur saw security move the crowd out of the main hall.

For the next several hours, the demonstrators took over the lobby for a sit-in.

“We’ve tried everything that we can do the Democratic way, and now protesting is our right and we’re making them listen to us,” Veronica Boulos said.

Some delegates sat in their chairs in disbelief, saying they wanted to hear from the candidates running for Senate, not from protesters.

“They’ve made their point and now they’ve been asked to be quiet and they’re not being quiet. They’re totally out of control,” said Dick Mesa.

Outside the convention center, tensions escalated with a group supporting the pro-Palestine side clashing with supporters of Israel and stealing their Israeli flag.

“If I have to stand here and take the brunt of abuse from these people to prove that we stand with Israel and our Jewish brothers and sisters, so be it I will take that brunt,” said the man with the flag, who said his name was Billy.

The war has divided some in the Jewish community with the group Jewish Voices for Peace setting out 500 pairs of shoes outside the convention center, which they said represents 5,000 children killed in the conflict.

“There is a lot of Jewish solidarity, there’s a lot of Jews for a cease-fire. We don’t want what happened to us to happen to anyone else,” said Tobie Klabansky. “Never again means never again for anyone.”

On the other side, Assemblymember Jesse Gabriel, D-Encino, and State Sen. Scott Wiener, D-San Francisco, condemned the protest in a statement on behalf of the California Legislative Jewish Caucus.

“Today, anti-Israel protesters stormed the Sacramento Convention Center and shut down the grassroots California Democratic Party Convention,” they said. “In doing so, they chanted, among other things, ‘from the river to the sea,’ which is a call for the eradication of the State of Israel. They also chanted ‘Resistance is justified when people are occupied,’ an apparent reference to Hamas’s October 7 attack — the largest mass murder, rape, and kidnapping of Jews since the Holocaust.”

The statement went on to say that in the wake of rising antisemitism and in light of the protest, some Jewish delegates now believe it is unsafe to participate in the convention.

“We fully support the right to protest loudly and vociferously. But storming through security and shutting down a democratic process — particularly with chants calling for the destruction of Israel and appearing to justify the Hamas attack — is completely unacceptable,” the said.

The Sacramento Police Department said protestors who made it back inside the SAFE Credit Union Convention Center Saturday evening were in a general public area and did not go past the point of admission.

As of 7:45 p.m., the building was on lockdown with about 200 people inside. No one was being allowed inside though people were being let out, KCRA 3’s Michelle Bandur reported.
By 10 p.m., all protesters had left the convention center.

In a vote before events were shut down, no Senate candidate received the 60% required for the party’s official endorsement.

Click here to read the full article at KCRA

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