Spurned Sanders Supporters Disrupt Day 1 Of DNC With Boos And Jeers | WBEZ
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Spurned Sanders Supporters Disrupt Day 1 Of DNC With Boos And Jeers

The first day of the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia erupted into chaos Monday afternoon amid controversy over leaked emails from the party's organizing committee.

Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake, who took over for Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz after she tendered her resignation over the email scandal, gaveled the proceedings into order without any incident. But that was not to last.

When Rev. Cynthia Hale mentioned Hillary Clinton for the first time during the invocation, the floor erupted into boos.

Clinton supporters began chanting, "Hil-la-ry, Hil-la-ry," but they were quickly drowned out by chants of "Bernie, Bernie!"

Every time Clinton's name was mentioned thereafter, the crowd erupted into chaos: Sanders supporters shouting against Clinton supporters.

Sanders' supporters were still reeling from emails published by WikiLeaks earlier this week that appear to show Democratic officials had favored Clinton over Sanders during the primaries.

NPR's Tamara Keith reports that Sanders' delegates received a plea from the candidate to keep protests off the floor.

"It's of utmost importance you explain this to your delegations," the text read.

A Democratic Party official tells Tamara that the Sanders and Clinton campaigns have tried to work together to present a united front. Early into the convention, it was clear those talks and the message from Sanders had not swayed the delegations.

Rep. Marcia Fudge, from Ohio, was shouted down many times as she tried to get through some procedural motions.

"I intend to be fair," she said as the crowd booed. "I am going to be respectful of you and I want you to be respectful of me. We are all Democrats and we need to act like it."

The same thing happened as Rep. Elijah Cummings delivered a speech centering on social justice.

As Cummings talked about how proud his late father would be of the people in the room, Sanders' supporters shouted, "No TPP, No TPP," in reference to the Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement.

Diane Russell, a state representative from Maine and Sanders delegate, spoke directly to the supporters of the Vermont senator.

She talked up the Unity Reform Commission, which was set up, she said, to "build a fairer process going forward." And she called for Sanders supporters to get in line with Clinton.

"I want to be clear, we did not win this by selling out. We won this by standing together," Russell said.

Wasserman Schultz announced earlier in the day that she would not gavel open the convention. And a bit after the proceedings began, the Democratic National Committee issued a formal apology to Sanders.

"The DNC does not — and will not — tolerate disrespectful language exhibited toward our candidates," the apology read. "Individual staffers have also rightfully apologized for their comments, and the DNC is taking appropriate action to ensure it never happens again."

Still, outside the convention hall, protesters took to the streets to support Sanders. When Sanders spoke to delegates at the Philadelphia Convention Center, the crowd booed when he threw his support to Clinton.

We'll update this post as the news unfolds.

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit NPR.

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