This week local activist Anthony Maselli was in Philadelphia to protest the Democratic National Convention and the nomination of Hillary Clinton, posting video footage and pictures as events happened.
He was kind enough to grant an interview with me on Friday July 29 to describe what he had seen and heard in the crowds.
On the ethnic makeup of the protests:
This group called Black Resistance, it’s a Philly-based black civil rights group, that group was very…broad and diverse in their messaging, you know, from local issues that were specific to Pennsylvania to a Palestinian rights contingent and a lot of those people had very targeted and specific complaints about Hillary Clinton and the concern wasn’t so much anti-Donald Trump but a really sharp focus on things that Hillary Clinton had done and the Clinton administration of the nineties had done that damaged the black community. And at one point it was this group of people of color who was leading the march and at one point one of the chants was “DON’T VOTE FOR HILLARY, SHE’S KILLING BLACK PEOPLE”. And to hear thousands of people, mainly people of color, saying that walking down a public street, it kind of hits you like ‘whoa’!… They’re really not concerned with this fascist rhetoric that people are speaking of Donald Trump in but really just disgusted with the two-party system as a whole and really don’t view Hillary Clinton as a lesser of two evils but rather just a different type of evil... There was another Black Lives Matter group whose signage read something along the lines of “WE’RE NOT VOTING UNTIL BLACK LIVES MATTER”.
On what the protestors felt about the outcome of the convention:
I think a very small if any number of people actually believed that he [Sen. Sanders] would come out of this convention with the nomination. I didn’t see any of that [thinking otherwise] really. I would say that the majority of people probably didn’t really feel a strong sense of betrayal. I think it was more sympathy. Especially with the way it was televised. He looked very emotional, his brother was obviously very emotional and I think he cried on the floor when he placed the last vote.
On Latin American solidarity protests:
We saw this group with a lot of flags and this giant puppet of what looked like a Latino woman and it turned out that it was Berta Cáceres… This was the environmental and civil rights activist from Honduras who was killed by the new regime that many people believe Hillary Clinton’s State Department illegally helped bring into power… A lot of people blame her [and] her State Department for creating and contributing to this massive unrest in Honduras that really made that country one of the most dangerous to live in the world now… We know they are killing a lot of indigenous leaders, a lot of activists, and a lot of people are fleeing that country and when people were starting to come here, a lot of folks at that protest really credited Hillary Clinton with wanting to send them back to the country that they believe she destroyed!