Man Unfurls Swastika Flag at Bernie Sanders Rally in Phoenix

bernie sanders

By Jessica Swarner

March 6, 2020

Sen. Bernie Sanders’ rally in Phoenix was disrupted after a protester unfurled a flag with some disturbing imagery. 

Bernie Sanders, the Vermont senator running to be the Democrats’ 2020 nominee for president, came to the Veterans Memorial Coliseum on Thursday night to rally his supporters.

Not everyone in the crowd was supportive, however. A man in the upper deck unfurled a Nazi flag during Sanders’ speech. If elected, Sanders would be the country’s first Jewish president.

“Whoever it was, I think they’re a little outnumbered tonight, and more importantly, they’re going to be outnumbered in November,” Sanders said after the crowd began booing at the protester.

The flag didn’t stay up for long. Sanders’ supporters snatched it down, and the man holding it was escorted out of the area. 

Man Unfurls Swastika Flag at Bernie Sanders Rally in Phoenix
Photo provided by attendee who grabbed the Nazi flag from Thursday’s protester. The attendee requested to remain anonymous for security reasons.

Steven Slugocki, chairman of the Maricopa County Democratic Party, said the incident was “absolutely abhorrent.” 

“We can argue about which candidate should get the Dem nomination, but antisemitic acts have no place in this world,” he tweeted.

Earlier in the day, Sanders, the son of Polish immigrants who came to the U.S. to escape the Holocaust, had tweeted a video he made with Jews For Bernie. 

Supporters also jumped in to stop disruptive protesters when a handful of Trump supporters unrolled two pro-President Donald Trump flags.

Both sides got into a tug of war until Department of Public Safety troopers and security guards got involved, leading the protesters out of the room. 

The interruptions didn’t stop Sanders from sharing his key platform points, though. The senator advocated for free higher education, Medicare For All, the Green New Deal, immigration reform, the cancellation of student debt, and more. He also praised Sen. Elizabeth Warren, who dropped out of the race Thursday. 

Man Unfurls Swastika Flag at Bernie Sanders Rally in Phoenix
Supporters file in before rally begins|Photo by Jessica Swarner

“Tonight, we invite Sen. Warren’s supporters into our campaign,” he said, “because I think they will find that many of the issues that Sen. Warren campaigned on are exactly the issues that we are fighting for.” 

Sanders went on to highlight some of former Vice President Joe Biden’s votes that he disagreed with, including votes in favor of the Iraq war and Wall Street bailouts during the Great Recession.

However, he did emphasize that his differences with Biden wouldn’t stop him from supporting the Democratic ticket, no matter who wins, in November.

“Joe Biden is a decent guy, and I know that if I win the nomination, he’ll be there for me,” he said. “If he wins, I’ll be there for him, because our differences are minimal compared to the differences we have with Trump.”

Sanders will take place in the presidential debate in Phoenix on March 15, two days before Arizona’s Presidential Preference Election. The election is closed to non-party members, meaning only registered Democrats can vote for their preferred presidential candidate. 

Anyone wishing to vote by mail can request a ballot up through Friday. Mail-in ballots must be returned by March 11. After that date, the state recommends voters turn in their ballot at any polling location or ballot drop box. Anyone wanting to know the status of their mail-in ballot can text “EV” to 628683 or check online to see if it was received and counted. 

March 13 is the last day to vote early at polling locations in person.


  • Jessica Swarner

    Jessica Swarner is the community editor for The Copper Courier. She is an ASU alumna and previously worked at KTAR News 92.3 FM in Phoenix.



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