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Demonstrators “barged” into the SAFE Credit Union Convention Center and opened doors to let in more people, a security breach that prompted officials to clamp down and nix some events scheduled for the evening, according to the Los Angeles Times.
“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,” said Shery Yang, the communications director for the California Democrats.
Protesters reportedly marched around the convention center with “Free Palestine” signs, chanting for a ceasefire in the Gaza Strip and criticizing President Joe Biden over his administration’s support of Israel in its fight against Hamas after terrorist attacks on Israeli soil last month. Demonstrators reportedly blocked delegates from entering and exiting the building.
At one particular event — a U.S. Senate candidate forum — protesters staged a sit-in, and a small group disrupted Reps. Adam Schiff (D-CA) and Katie Porter (D-CA), who have not called for a Gaza ceasefire but did not interrupt Rep. Barbara Lee (D-CA), who ended her remarks by calling for a ceasefire, per The Sacramento Bee.
Naomi Goldman, a Democrats for Israel California board member, said she was “eagerly anticipating meaningful comment from my party on hate speech and violence targeting the Jewish community,” adding, “as well as a total denunciation of what delegates did to disrupt our assembly, and how it will ensure safe inclusive spaces for everyone who hold a diversity of opinions.”
Fatima Iqbal-Zubair, chairwoman of the California Democratic Party Progressive Caucus, said the organizers shut down the convention because “a lot of protesters kind of went in and they weren’t able to check them,” reported local NBC affiliate KCRA 3. Talking about “civil disobedience,” Iqbal-Zubair added that a “disruption has to happen in a democracy for something drastic to change.”
The chaotic display in Sacramento took place just days after demonstrators calling for a ceasefire in Gaza clashed with police at the Democratic National Committee (DNC) headquarters in Washington, D.C.
U.S. Capitol Police said those demonstrators were “not peaceful” and ignored orders to move back from the building. In the ensuing standoff, six officers were injured — including getting pepper sprayed and being punched — and one person was arrested for assaulting an officer, the Capitol Police said.
Another event, this one planned for this weekend in Oregon, got canceled by the state Democratic Party over concerns about being interrupted by pro-Palestintian protesters.