SACRAMENTO – Saturday night's massive protest in Downtown Sacramento brought the California Democratic Convention to a standstill. More than 2,500 demonstrators flooded the streets, demanding Democratic leaders call for a cease-fire in Gaza.
The protest originated as a sit-in demonstration inside the Safe Credit Union Convention Center building with about 200 people.
However, it rapidly escalated, swelling to thousands as protestors called for democratic leaders to call for a cease-fire.
Democratic leaders were in the midst of their party's convention, gearing up for next year's election as they decide who to support to fill the late Dianne Feinstein's seat.
Sameena Husman, a delegate, emphasized that some Democratic voters, stating that without swift action, won't participate in next year's elections.
"A lot of people who are Democrats have lost faith in the party," Husman said. "We need to stand up and say we're not going to stand for this, and we have to have a cease-fire."
Protesters marched down J Street and converged in front of the Sacramento Memorial Auditorium. At one point, J Street was closed between 14th and 16th streets, leading to a massive traffic back-up stretching to the I Street bridge.
"We want to stop the genocide against my people in Gaza," said Adeeb Alzanoon with the Sacramento Coalition for Palestinian Rights, a group comprising leaders of different faiths.
For Alzanoon, the tragedy in Gaza hits close to home.
"I've lost 42 of my extended family," he said. "We all come here to stand up for justice and for peace."
"Due to circumstances beyond our control, and for the safety and security of our delegates and convention participants, we are canceling tonight's caucus meetings, hospitality suites, and VoteFest taking place at the convention center," the California Democrats said in a statement in response to the protest.
The Sacramento Police Department reported no arrests and no incidents of vandalism.
However, there is anticipation regarding the California Democratic Party's decision on whether Sunday's general session will proceed as planned.
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