By Adam Kelnhofer for WisPolitics.com
The first night of the Dem National Convention featured several small groups demonstrating outside the convention venue on issues such as climate change, U.S. involvement in Central and South America, Medicare for All, and criminal justice reform.
Extinction Rebellion America posted signs, danced and played music to promote four demands of the United States and its government. The group’s demands include that the government tell the truth about climate change, the creation of a citizens’ assembly on climate and ecological justice, action now to stop the advance of climate change and the achievement of global net-zero emissions by 2030.
“We’re demanding that, through nonviolent civil disobedience, the government tell the truth about the crisis and take immediate action to reduce carbon emissions net-zero [in the U.S.] by 2025,” said Myra Jansky, leader of the Great Lakes and Plains Region of Extinction Rebellion America.
The group wouldn’t reveal details on what kinds of demonstrations were planned for the DNC over the next few days but promised the performances will be dramatic.
Alongside the protesters for climate change was a group of a few speaking out against U.S. involvement in Central and South America. The group’s members want the U.S. military to pull all of its resources out of Columbia because they feel the U.S. is exploiting the country’s natural resources and labor.
“I’m just speechless that our country has been backing this kind of thing for 120 years now and has continued steadily in many different Latin American countries,” said Steve Edinger, one of the protesters.
A nearby group of Bernie Sanders supporters decked out in high-visibility vests that goes by #BernieOrVest, also held a gathering of around a dozen people holding signs and chanting for Medicare for All, the Green New Deal and abolishing the for-profit prison industry.
Two different anti-abortion groups also held signs and gave short speeches near the convention at a Dept. of Public Works-sanctioned speaker’s platform in Zeidler Union Square Park.
While an increasing number of groups have been converging on the Wisconsin Center as the convention heats up, they appeared outnumbered by police. Every entry point inside the black, rusty fence around the convention was crewed by at least one Secret Service agent and a few other uniformed police officers with additional gear like gas masks, UTV’s and surveillance equipment.
The People’s Revolution of Milwaukee, a group that has been holding protests for racial equity and police reform, had originally planned to march in the area. But the group instead headed to Wauwatosa. Groups have been seeking the firing of a Wauwatosa police officer involved in three fatal shootings.