PHILADELPHIA — Bernie Sanders loyalists signaled their intent to leave the Democratic Party and protested inside and outside its national convention site after Hillary Clinton on Tuesday won its presidential nomination.

“We all have this unrealistic dream that democracy is alive in America,” said Debra Dilks, of Boonville, Missouri, who spoke as a protest broke up near Philadelphia’s City Hall and wasn’t sure she’ll vote in November. “Hillary didn’t get the nomination. The nomination was stolen.”

Thousands of activists have taken to the streets during the Democratic National Convention this week to voice support for Sanders, a liberal Vermont U.S. senator, and his progressive agenda.

Moments after Clinton became the first woman to be nominated for president by a major U.S. political party, a large group of Sanders delegates exited the convention site to hold a sit-in inside a media tent. Some had their mouths taped shut. A few spontaneously sang “this land is our land,” and a banner read “we the people.” They said they were holding a peaceful protest to complain about being shut out by the Democratic Party.

“This was not a convention. This was a four-day Hillary party. And we weren’t welcome,” said Liz Maratea, a New Jersey delegate at the media tent protest. “We were treated like lepers.”

Unmoved by Sanders’ plea for party unity, the Bernie or Bust protesters walked miles in the stifling heat again Tuesday to make their case for him.

They held a midday rally at City Hall, then made their way down Broad Street to the convention site. By early evening, a large crowd had formed outside the subway station closest to the arena.


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