Bernie Sanders Supporters Disrupt California Event at Democratic National Convention

Chants of 'count our votes' and 'lock her up' made some speeches at the California delegation breakfast hard to hear

PHILADELPHIA – Pro-Bernie Sanders delegates disrupted the California delegation breakfast as the Democratic National Convention kicked off on Monday, chanting "Lock her up!" and "Count our votes!" during speeches.

The chanting reached its peak when California Secretary of State Alex Padilla spoke. At the mention of names such as Hillary Clinton and Tim Kaine, Clinton's vice presidential running mate, Sanders supporters erupted in boos, quickly drowning out Padilla's words.

The call for party unity seemed to be abandoned as many stood and began waving "Bernie or Bust" signs and banners declaring their support. Shortly after, Padilla was forced to pause and asked for quiet several times.

"I just don't really believe that what [Hillary] says is what's she's going to do," said Nicole Lutkemuller, a Sanders delegate. "[Bernie] has had a 30 year career of having the same ideas and voting on those ideas in the Senate. He's actually taking action to support what he believes."

Katrina Bergstrom, another Sanders delegate from California, said she has concerns about Clinton's priorities. "We don't trust that she's going to continue to push the platform in a progressive manner," she said. "They're not interested in our vote anymore."

It has been one day since Democratic National Committee Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz said she would step down in the wake of an email leak scandal. Emails released by WikiLeaks appear to show party officials working against Sanders in favor of Clinton's nomination.

In May, Sanders supporters disrupted the Nevada Democratic convention, and the state's Democratic chairwoman Roberta Lange received threats after a close final vote in which Clinton claimed an edge. Sanders denounced those threats.

Bergstrom said she and other Sanders supporters are bothered by a lack of transparency.

"They're admitting guilt and fault that [the nominating process] was biased," she said. "There's an admission of fault by [the chairwoman's] resignation."

Clinton delegates have their own issues with the Sanders supporters.

"[The Sanders delegates] are very committed to being disruptive and committed to making their presence known, and they're being successful in that," said Marsha Conant, a Clinton delegate from Fresno. "Sometimes it feels as though we're being far more respectful of them than they are of us."

Despite the shouts and protests, it seems that both Clinton and Sanders delegates are hoping to unite the party. But supporters of the two candidates have different ideas about what party unity looks like.

Anila Ali, a Clinton delegate, says that unity should be a compromise. She is supportive of the debate between Clinton and Sanders supporters, but believes that all Democrats should see the bigger picture. "That's democracy in action," Ali said. "[But] in the end, you have to unite."

Lutkemuller thinks otherwise.

"I think it's ironic that people want unity, but only unity on one side," she said. "Everybody wants everyone to get on Hillary's side."

Clinton supporters, including Conant, said they are focused on defeating Donald Trump in the general election.

"We need to help them understand that the bigger problem will be in November," she said. "We are more alike than we are different."

Clinton delegates aren't alone in the sentiment. "I'm ready for everybody who is a Bernie delegate to listen to his wishes, to respect them and endorse the candidate," said Sanders delegate Ciera Smith. "This is embarrassing for the entire party so I hope that that comes to an end soon."

But Lutkemuller is Bernie or Bust.

"We're not just going to jump on the Hillary train," she said. "I don't feel guilty if Trump is elected, because I've been here fighting for the exact opposite."

Reach Contributor Rachel Chiu here, or follow her on Twitter.