SEATTLE (AP) — Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders was shoved aside by several Black Lives Matter activists and eventually left a Saturday afternoon event in Seattle without giving his speech.
Sanders was just starting to address several thousand people gathered shoulder to shoulder at Westlake Park when two women took over the microphone. Organizers couldn't persuade the two to wait and agreed to give them a few minutes.
As Sanders stepped back, the women spoke about Ferguson and the killing of Michael Brown and held a four minute moment of silence.
When the crowd asked the activists to allow Sanders to speak, one activist called the crowd "white supremacist liberals," according to event participants.
After waiting about 20 minutes, Sanders himself was pushed away when he tried to take the microphone back. Instead, he waved goodbye, left the stage with a raised fist salute and waded into the crowd. He shook hands and posed for photos with supporters for about 15 minutes, and then left.
The rally at Westlake Park was organized as a birthday celebration for Social security, Medicare and Medicaid.
It's not the first time that Black Lives Matter activists disrupt the Vermont senator's event.
At a town hall for Democratic presidential candidates in Phoenix last month, protesters affiliated with the Black Lives Matter movement took over the stage and disrupted an interview with Sanders and former Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley.
In his campaign, Sanders has chiefly focused on issues like the middle class, climate change and criminal justice reform. In addition to advocating a $15-an-hour minimum wage and raising taxes on the rich, Sanders also supports a massive government-led jobs program to fix roads and bridges, a single-payer health care system, an expansion of Social Security benefits and debt-free college.
Sanders will hold a campaign rally at the University of Washington this evening. He will be driving to Portland on Sunday and is scheduled to hold a Sunday night rally at Portland's Moda Center, which has a capacity of about 19,000 and is home of the NBA's Portland Trail Blazers. The event had originally been scheduled at Veterans Memorial Coliseum, which can handle about 12,000.
Sanders heads to an event in Los Angeles on Monday.