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Bernie Sanders black lives matters seattle
Marissa Johnson, left, speaks as Mara Jacqueline Willaford stands with her and Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., stands nearby as the two women take over the microphone at a rally on Aug. 8, 2015, in downtown Seattle. Elaine Thompson—AP

Black Lives Matter Activists Disrupt Bernie Sanders Speech

Aug 09, 2015

Correction appended, Aug. 9

Black Lives Matter activists interrupted Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders at a rally in Seattle, stopping the politician from speaking at the first of two engagements he attended on Saturday.

The activists took over the rally at a city park, marking the anniversary of Social Security and Medicare, before Sanders could even speak, according to The Hill. Two women and a man from a Seattle chapter of Black Lives Matter shoved Sanders aside, grabbed the microphone, and addressed the crowd. After some confusion, campaign officials allowed the group to take the stage for four and a half minutes to commemorate the four and a half hours Michael Brown lay in the streets of Ferguson, Mo., last year after being shot by a police officer.

Sunday marks the one year anniversary of Brown's death, which helped launch the Black Lives Matter movement and a national conversation to address police brutality.

"Bernie says that he's all about the people and about grassroots," a protester identifying herself as Marissa Johnson, told the attendees. "The biggest grassroots movement in this country right now is Black Lives Matter."

Sanders released a statement expressing his disappointment at not being able to speak at the rally.

"I was especially disappointed because on criminal justice reform and the need to fight racism there is no other candidate for president who will fight harder than me," he said.

This isn't the first time the Vermont senator—has clashed with Black Lives Matter protestors; at previous rallies, Sanders has previously said that "black lives matter, white lives matter, Hispanic lives matter," drawing criticism from the Black Lives Matter movement. Activists from the movement have also interrupted his rivals for the Democratic presidential nomination, Hillary Clinton and Martin O'Malley.

Ferguson Ignites With Violence After Grand Jury Decision

Law enforcement responds to protestors amidst tear gas and smoke in Ferguson, Mo. on Nov. 24, 2014
Law enforcement stands in full gear by tanks in Ferguson, Mo. on Nov. 24, 2014Barrett Emke for TIME
Law enforcement responds to protestors amidst tear gas and smoke in Ferguson, Mo. on Nov. 24, 2014
Grand jury decision not to indict Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson
Ferguson erupts in violence after Grand Jury decision
Law enforcement responds to protestors amidst tear gas and smoke in Ferguson, Mo. on Nov. 24, 2014
A woman speaks into a megaphone during protests in Ferguson, Mo. on Nov. 24, 2014
A man lays on the ground amid protests in Ferguson, Mo. on Nov. 24, 2014
Ferguson Grand Jury decision in Michael Brown shooting
A demonstrator puts his hands in the air amid protests in Ferguson, Mo. on Nov. 24, 2014
US-CRIME-POLICE-RACE-UNREST
Demonstrators attempt to push over a police car in Ferguson, Mo. on Nov, 24, 2014.
Grand Jury verdict on the Michael Brown shooting
A car burns on the street after a grand jury returned no indictment in the shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri
Grand Jury verdict on the Michael Brown shooting
Grand Jury verdict on the Michael Brown shooting
Patrick London surveys the damage at his fast food restaurant London's Wing House after it was looted during protests on November 24, 2014.
Lesley McSpadden Michael Brown's mother and other protestors demonstrate amidst tear gas and smoke in Ferguson, Mo. on Nov. 24, 2014
Riots in Ferguson
A man stands by a burned out car in Ferguson, Mo. on Nov. 24, 2014
US-CRIME-POLICE-RACE-UNREST
Law enforcement stands in full gear by tanks in Ferguson, Mo. on Nov. 24, 2014
Barrett Emke for TIME
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Correction: The original version of this story misquoted Sanders' statement about the "Black Lives Matter" movement in a June 24 interview with NPR. He said "black lives matter, white lives matter, Hispanic lives matter."

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