PHILADELPHIA — The fart-in planned by Sanders supporters at the Democratic National Convention materialized a day earlier than expected, with several Sanders delegates from Massachusetts passing wind around 6 p.m. ET on Wednesday, organizer Cheri Honkala told NBC News.
Honkala, of the Poor People's Economic Human Rights Campaign, has said she staged the protest to bring attention to a Democratic nomination process that she and many Sanders supporters say “stinks.”
Honkala, who ran as Green Party candidate Jill Stein’s running mate in 2012, said she first tried feeding beans to Sanders delegates on Tuesday, in front of the AT&T SEPTA subway station. But Honkala said she was arrested for disorderly conduct and led her away in handcuffs. She said she was released a few hours later.
Philadelphia Police Department spokesman Jeff Chrusch told NBC News in an email that they had not arrested anyone for disorderly conduct in connection with the Democratic National Convention. He added that people have, however, received citations for disorderly conduct.
The Secret Service, Chrusch said, has made arrests on other charges.
Honkala said she went back to the AT&T location on Wednesday, serving up at least 100 cans of beans at the gates of the Wells Fargo Center. Some Sanders supporters and delegates tried walking out of the convention that evening, but they were stopped by police, she said.
“They were tired of the silence because it was deadly,” Honkala said of the delegates who left.
The original plan called for Sanders delegates to consume beans roughly six hours before Clinton accepted the presidential nomination Thursday evening. To express their displeasure with Clinton and the nomination process, the delegates were then supposed to pass gas and leave the arena en masse in protest.
Sanders and his followers have been particularly critical of superdelegates, who are not bound to a candidate. They argue that the superdelegate system is unfair because it favors giving nominating votes to established candidates rather than untraditional picks.
Using flatulence as a protest tool was the brainchild of community organizer Saul D. Alinsky, according to the political blog Daily Kos.
Honkala also said they were dismantling a shantytown dubbed “Clintonville” that they erected in Kensington, one of Philadelphia's poorest neighborhoods. It was modeled after the Depression-era Hoovervilles of the 1930s.
Massachusetts Sanders delegate Kathleen Hong told NBC News that holding a fart-in is definitely a way to grab the nation’s attention.
“I didn’t personally participate because for me it’s not the way I would personally choose to express my discontent,” she said, adding that she still supported those who did.
Hong described her stance on whether to back Clinton as still evolving. In the midst of all the protests and pomp and circumstance of the convention, Hong said it’s hard to reach an objective conclusion, adding that she’ll begin mulling everything over once the convention has ended.
“Everyone there has a message, and I think as a voting citizen it’s up to me to process that information on my own,” she said.