Dale (left) and Tom (right) outside their campground in FDR park
Tom told me they had driven from Minnesota because, even though he has never previously been involved in politics and suffers from arthritis and bone spurs, the campaign of Bernie Sanders felt like a worthy cause. When asked what he would do if Hillary Clinton, rather than Sanders, receives the Democratic nomination he said; "I would probably plan on moving out of the country [because] the war is going to continue. All the problems that we have are going to continue because that has been the status quo so far with Hillary". Their neighbors 'Raco' and Courtney had come from Minneapolis.
'Raco' and Courtney show off their signs while some pork-chops grill
'Raco' had concerns about voter fraud in California where he had been working phone lines for Sanders and felt Sanders had a majority, especially in the Hispanic community. Regardless, they were both hopeful about not only the Democratic nomination ("If the people in there do their jobs', [Sanders] will be nominated") but also the general election, where they believe the absence of Sanders on the Democratic ballet will lead to a victory for Jill Stein of the Green Party. Diane and Tom, "Bernie supporters right to the end" (Diane's words), weren't so sure.
Jill Golding says "Hill No!"
They too planned on supporting Jill Stein, barring a Sanders Democratic ballet. As Tom said; "We aren't concerned about [splitting the vote], we're voting our conscience". However, not everyone at FDR park was a die-hard Sanders supporter.
"This may be your last morning" - Having just arrived from the RNC in Cleveland, these self-described "preachers of equal opportunity" wasted no time making an impression
Calls for repentance from behind a necessary line of police
Throughout the day groups like this provoked a variety of responses from their fellow protesters.
A man who gave his name as Proud American chants "life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness" towards the above group
Ashley Ryerson defies warnings of eternal damnation with a message of peace
At this point people were beginning to arrive in earnest from the subway station that services both FDR park and the Wells Fargo Center, home of the 2016 DNC.
A SEPTA transit policeman watches over arriving protesters
Doubtlessly due to concern about the security of the adjacent convention entrance, entry to the station was restricted around 3pm. Arriving protesters were still allowed out to join the crowd, and as it grew, so did the energy and subsequent tension. Eventually the station was closed entirely as chants of "hell no DNC, we wont vote for Hillary" and "this is what democracy looks like" rang across the crowd.
Sumaj parks his bike in front of a group of preachers and their police escort, lofting a sign reading "Stop the war on Black America"
The police line separates to allow new Broad Street Line arrivals out
Sanders supporters give an ultimatum
Bicycle police stand ready near the protest at AT&T Station
The second amendment turned out to be a key issue for protesters - following trust, environment (read fracking), and maybe if you asked those deeper in FDR park, marijuana legalization.
A group of young men offer an alternate perspective
Some pro-gun activists speak their piece
A woman questions the above activists about police violence against African-Americans
With only one (voluntary) arrest and good police management, the first day of the protests outside DNC 2016 exceeded the expectations of many, dispersing with the arrival of a thunderstorm and accompanying deluge. Unfortunately for those worried about a Trump presidency, of the 40 some people this reporter talked to not a single one was considering supporting Hillary Clinton if she wins the Democratic nomination.
Protesters take cover under a bridge after the onset of a rainstorm
Below is, in no particular order, some additional photographs of the day.
A proud hat owner
The pavement speaks for many of the protests attendees
Something we can all agree on
Ariel (left) and Joan (right) from Code Pink
This man just wanted "everyone to calm down"
Pro-lifers sport tie-die and a friendly attitude
Bill was a Sanders and Stein supporter
The words of Thomas Jefferson