Friday, October 30, 2015

Black Lives Matter Protesters Attempt to Interrupt Clinton Speech in Atlanta
By Vanessa Williams and Wesley Lowery
October 30 at 5:38 PM  

ATLANTA -- Democratic front-runner Hillary Clinton was briefly interrupted by Black Lives Matter protesters Friday afternoon as she attempted to deliver a speech on criminal justice at Clark Atlanta, a historically black university.

"Black lives matter! Black lives matter!" a small but loud group chanted.

"Yes they do!" Clinton said, attempting to continue speaking over the chants.

The crowd then counter-chanted "Hillary! Hillary!"

Finally the crowd took over: "Let her speak! Let her speak!' and the candidate's address continued as the protesters were escorted from the room and the audience erupted in cheers.

The brief protest was just the latest attempt by activists associated with the Black Lives Matter protest movement to interrupt a candidate on the campaign trail. Both of her Democratic primary rivals, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and former Maryland governor Martin O'Malley were interrupted while speaking earlier this year at Netroots Nation, a liberal activists conference.

Clinton spoke for about 45 minutes after being introduced by Rep. John Lewis (D-Ga.), a civil rights icon, who praised Clinton for being tough and enduring 11-hour questioning at last week's House hearing on the September 2012 attacks that killed four Americans at two U.S. compounds in Benghazi, Libya.

She later said that it was unfortunate that the protesters didn't hear her out because she was addressing their concerns about police reform and "ending the era of mass incarceration." She noted that she has had meetings with some activists from the movement and she also tried to appeal to them by noting that in Atlanta, "we are surrounded by so much history it does inspire you to keep chanting."

"To all the young people here today, those who are listening and those who are singing," Clinton said. "We need you. We need a rising generation of activists and organizers."

Vanessa Williams is a staff writer at The Post. Contact her at

Wesley Lowery is a national reporter covering law enforcement and justice for the Washington Post. He previously covered Congress and national politics.

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