7 Arrested As Tensions Rise & Protesters Breach Security Fence At DNC 2016

Above Photo: An activist holds a “Still Sanders” sign during a candlelit vigil outside the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia, site of the 2016 Democratic National Convention, July 27, 2016. (MintPress News / Kit O’Connell)

While protests started peacefully on Wednesday with a ‘fart-in’ to expose corruption in the American democratic system, they intensified as conflicting groups clashed and protesters breached the massive security fence erected outside the Wells Fargo Center.

PHILADELPHIA — From passing gas to burning flags to breaching a massive security fence, activists expressed their outrage at the Democratic Party on Wednesday night.

Dozens of police crowded around the entrance to AT&T Station, the subway stop closest to the site of the Democratic National Convention, to prevent a “fart-in” protest to highlight corruption in the American democratic system.

“When it comes to the continued racial discrimination in this country, when it comes to being in a state spends more on prisons than on education, something is wrong with this picture,” Cheri Honkala, the event’s organizer, declared. “It’s an absolute farce, and quite frankly, this whole thing reminds me of the Hunger Games, except for the sad thing is this is the real Hunger Games.”


In this July 27, 2016 photograph, Cheri Honkala, leader of the Poor People’s Economic Rights Campaign, hosts a “Fart-In” outside the gates of the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia to highlight corruption in democracy.

In this July 27, 2016 photograph, Cheri Honkala, leader of the Poor People’s Economic Rights Campaign, hosts a “Fart-In” outside the gates of the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia to highlight corruption in democracy.

Honkala, who repeatedly told the assembled crowd that she was responding to a democratic “farce with “farts,” leads the Poor People’s Economic Human Rights Campaign. The group also hosted Monday’s massiveMarch for Our Lives protest, which sought to boost support for presumptive Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein while also highlighting issues of systemic inequality and poverty in the United States.

Honkala was arrested during the first attempted “fart-in” on Tuesday.

Watch “Cheri Honkala speaks about her arrest at the 2016 DNC in Philly” from argusfest:

Supported by a handful of other activists, all people of color (Honkala herself is Native American), who served beans and tortillas to the media, delegates exiting the convention, and curious onlookers, Honkala condemned the Democratic Party’s manipulation of the election.

Police assembled in overwhelming numbers to prevent Honkala and her group from taking the gaseous repast directly to the convention, using their bodies to block her multiple attempts to enter the subway station.

Protesters breach the security fence at the DNC
The “fart-in” marked the beginning of a night of protest in which tensions often ran high, not just between police and protesters, but also between conflicting protest groups.

About 400 protesters marched on the security fence after a number of Bernie Sanders delegates, who had participated in a walk-out from the convention, spoke for hours with activists in nearby FDR Park, the closest location to the DNC still open to the public.

Chanting “Hey Hey! Ho Ho! The DNC has got to go!” and “Jill Not Hill!” a reference to the Green Party’s Stein and the Democrat’s nominee, Hillary Clinton, activists spent hours protesting by the security fence erected around the Wells Fargo Center. At one point, the group even breached the fence, resulting in a massive and intimidating show of force from police, who shoved activists back from the fence as a helicopter illuminated the crowd with a bright spotlight.

One reporter from Unicorn Riot, a team of citizen journalists present throughout the week, was assaulted by an officer who apparently attempted to block the phone the reporter was using to livestream protests.

Seven protesters were arrested, according to a Secret Service report. Conflict also arose among protesters. A group of masked anti-capitalist activists burned flags, irritating Sanders supporters, who felt their actions were offensive. Both groups aggressively confronted each other throughout evening and into the night, with Sanders supporters maintaining that the masked group was violent and unwelcome and the anti-capitalists criticizing the other group’s continued support for the Vermont senator.

One woman suffered minor burns when her long skirt caught fire as she attempted to stomp out the burning flag.

Both independent and corporate media journalists told MintPress that they experienced unusual difficulties transmitting images and videos via their mobile phones. Because this was occurring across multiple cellular networks, many speculated about government interference.

Jon Ziegler, a veteran citizen journalist who tweets and livestreams as @Rebelutionary_Z, told MintPress News that he usually ignores rumors about police “jamming” cellular phones at protests, but couldn’t ignore the evidence of interference this week.

“I’ve never before had the issues like we’ve been having down at the gates of the DNC, where Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday night, the second we even get close to those gates, my livestream gets glitchy or drops out completely, or you just can’t connect to the internet at all.”