WASHINGTON – Democrats protested Wednesday outside of Democratic National Committee (DNC) headquarters on Capitol Hill, demanding more Democratic primary debates than the six scheduled – including only five this calendar year.
Approximately one hundred protesters, including many supporters of Hillary Clinton’s Democratic rivals Bernie Sanders and Martin O’Malley, railed outside DNC headquarters, where they chanted, gave speeches, sang protest songs, and delivered 23,000 petition signatures to a DNC official who came outside to receive the petitions.
“In the absence of any other explanation, they’re doing this to rig the election for Secretary Clinton,” O’Malley campaign spokeswoman Lis Smith told Breitbart News.
The O’Malley camp had the strongest campaign presence at the protest.
“There’s more than one candidate. Allow, allow, allow debate,” the protesters chanted, clearly referring to Democratic front-runner Hillary Clinton, whose campaign is favored by the debate schedule, which does not allow Sanders, O’Malley and other Democratic candidates to get major screen time until it’s too late to register as a Democrat in some primary states.
“We’ve been in contact with the DNC,” O’Malley spokeswoman Lis Smith said. “The chair has shown no willingness to change the schedule. But there’s an open revolt in the ranks” with DNC vice chairs coming out to rebuke DNC chairwoman Debbie Wasserman-Schultz.
The DNC contacted the O’Malley campaign ahead of time to “communicate its displeasure” about the protest, Smith added.
Wasserman-Schultz was a particular target of protesters’ scorn.
“Hey Debbie Wasserman-Schultz. We’re going to call and protest until we get results,” according to one protest chant.
Other chants included “Five debates in 2015. We know what that really means,” and “More ideas, more voices, I’m a Democrat and I want choices.”
“Let Joe Biden debate too!” one O’Malley supporter cried out, though his interjection received no applause.
As a self-identified representative from Lyndon LaRouche’s LaRouchePAC handed out literature criticizing the Clinton administration’s repeal of Glass-Steagall, and protesters struck up a rendition of Bob Dylan’s “The Times They Are-A Changin’,” security guards stood outside, helping some DNC staffers get in and out of the building.
The first Democratic debate will be held in Las Vegas on October 13.