[guest post by Dana]
So today, Martin O’Malley, former governor of Maryland, and Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) were both interrupted and heckled by protesters during their back-to-back appearances at the progressive Netroots Nation conference.
According to Dave Weigel of the Washington Post:
Demonstrators began chanting, “What side are you on?” during a Q&A session with O’Malley. O’Malley allowed the protesters to finish, but drew boos when he said that “black lives matter, all lives matter, white lives matter”. O’Malley later admitted that he made a mistake in his choice of words, and said he did not mean any disrespect.
O’Malley was eventually forced off stage.
Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders also faced protesters:
The protesters remained as Sanders appeared on stage, and he took a less patient approach.
“Whoa, whoa, let me talk about what I came to talk about for a minute,” the senator said, before launching into a riff on income inequality and steps to address it.
The Vermont senator faced chants and heckling as well, but Sanders continued talking. Asked what he had done in the Senate to benefit black Americans, he started to talk about the 2010 Affordable Care Act.
“We can’t afford that!” heckled Elle Hearns, a 28-year-old Ohio coordinator for the LGBT rights group GetEqual.
And again, O’Malley tried to regain footing:
“I think that all of us as Americans have a responsibility to recognize the pain and grief throughout our country from all of the lives that have been lost to violence, whether that’s violence at the hands of police, whether that’s violence at the hands of civilians,” he said.
“Stop trying to generalize this s—!” yelled Ashley Yates, a 30-year-old activist from Oakland, Calif.
Anna Galland, executive director of MoveOn, issued a statement which said: “The presidential candidates’ responses today to the powerful protest led by black activists at Netroots Nation … make clear that all Democratic candidates have work to do in understanding and addressing the movement for black lives.Hillary Clinton did not make an appearance at the conference.
A joint statement from Democracy for America and the Progressive Change Campaign Committee said: “Black lives matter and we stand in solidarity with every single organizer and activist who stood up and demanded that presidential candidates challenge power and respond to the crushing consequences of structural racism.”
Hillary Clinton did not address racial inequality at the conference as she chose to skip the event.