Black Lives Matter Protesters Just Took on Jeb Bush

August 13th 2015

Kyle Jaeger

At a town hall meeting held by Republican presidential candidate Jeb Bush on Wednesday, Black Lives Matter protestors clashed with supporters after hearing the former Florida governor speak about issues such as racial justice, policing, and immigration. Bush fielded questions from the public and ended the town hall without delivering a closing statement, leaving quickly as the opposing camps began to chant at each other.

"Black Lives Matter!" several dozen shouted, their fists raised in a show of solidarity. Some Bush supporters turned to face them, responding "All Lives Matter!" A few "White Lives Matter!" chants could be heard as well. As tensions grew, the town hall began to descend into chaos, a scene that was captured in part on camera.

Before the event got underway, two Black Lives Matter activists advanced to the stage and interrupted Bush.

This was not the first time that members of the Black rights movement have attempted to take the mic from high-profile politicians, of course; protestors have taken similar actions at rallies and speeches held by Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, who is also running for president on the Democratic ticket.

BREAKING: This is what solidarity looks like. #BlackLivesMatter shut down a Jeb Bush presidential town hall in Las...

Posted by Netroots Nation on Wednesday, August 12, 2015

But unlike Sanders, Bush did not concede the stage when the two protestors arrived. They were escorted out of the community center gymnasium, the Los Angeles Times reported, and it wasn't until the event had nearly ended when chants from the audience gave way to conflict. Just a few feet from the candidate, two women—a Bush supporter and a Black Lives Matter protestor—faced each other, middle fingers raised.

Bush's campaign said that they had arranged to meet with Black Lives Matter advocates earlier that day to discuss the candidate's plans for criminal justice reform. The campaign did not immediately comment on what happened in that meeting.

When a woman asked Bush to comment on the disproportionate number of minorities killed by police and the seemingly prejudiced treatment of Black communities by law enforcement officials in the U.S., he acknowledged that racism still exists in this country, that the issue needs to be resolved, and then went on to talk about his education record as Florida's governor. During his term, academic achievement levels among minorities rose, Bush said.

"I have a record of empowering people in communities that" were told "they had no chance," he added before quickly ending the town hall meeting, which erupted into chants from Black Lives Matter advocates.