Anticipating a large presence in support of Bernie Sanders, allies of the Vermont senator have been issued four permits by the city of Philadelphia to demonstrate in front of the Democratic National Convention, to be held in late July at Philadelphia’s Wells Fargo Center.
One permit empowers Sanders loyalists to assemble at FDR Park, which adjoins the venue, over a four-day period concurrent with convention dates of July 25-28.
The city expects over 30,000 demonstrators at FDR Park.
Similarly, three permits issued for planned demonstrations at the Thomas Paine Plaza in the downtown area of Philadelphia were issued for rallies which expect to draw as many as 3,000.
Although the protests have been established by supporters not aligned with the maverick senator’s campaign, their intent is to underline Sanders’ call for change in the Democratic Party’s nomination framework.
“The whole Bernie movement is an ideology. If Bernie wins the nomination, wins the presidency, that would be amazing. But even if Hillary does win the nomination, the movement has already started,” said Steve Okan Layne, who is involved with organizing the planned rallies.
Some Democrats are skeptical and are worried the convention could be plunged into utter chaos. In a letter written to the co-chairs of the DNC’s rules and bylaws committee, Nevada State Democratic Party general counsel Bradley S. Schrager expressed his concern about the aim of planned demonstrations.
Schrager letter conveyed anxiety over:
“What we perceive as the Sanders campaign’s penchant for extra-parliamentary behavior – indeed, actual violence – in place of democratic conduct in a convention setting.”
Seeking to assuage concerns, one organizer, Bill Taylor, told the Wall Street Journal:
“We are marching. If you’re planning on coming here with violence in mind, we don’t want you.”