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  • Bernie Sanders supporter in New York.

    Bernie Sanders supporter in New York. | Photo: AFP

Published 13 April 2016

Thousands turn out in Washington Square Park in Manhattan for a Sanders rally that features many celebrities.

Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders is holding a large and lengthy rally today in Washington Square Park.

The list of speakers includes popular musical groups Vampire Weekend and Dirty Projectors, noted director Spike Lee and actress Rosario Dawson, Palestinian-American activist Linda Sarsour, Tim Robbins, and musical icon Graham Nash of the seminal Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young.

Actor and filmmaker Tim Robbins told the thousands of Sanders supports that they have "all been fed a steady stream of propaganda" that says Clinton is the presumptive nominee," but the "Democratic National Committee and the Clintons have a big problem: times have changed."

"We are done with compromising our ideals," Robbins said. "They don't want to support a 'candidate entrenched in the past,'" referring to Clinton.

Sanders Joins 40,000 Workers Striking Against 'Greedy' Verizon

Palestinian-American activist Linda Sarsour said that she supports Sanders because he is "unbought and unsold ... he works for the people," and that in "New York City, we stand with immigrants, and Muslims, and Black Lives Matter," presumably referring to former President Bill Clinton's altercation with BLM activists last week.

Chris Shelton, the president of the Communication Workers of America union which began striking today to gain more benefits from Verizon, said that the "poster child for corporate greed" was Verizon. "Bernie Sanders today marched on picket lines with my members...Senator Bernie Sanders is for the working class."

"There's only one candidate running who's going to fight corporate greed ... who's gonna fight for the working class," he concluded.

Actress Rosario Dawson said it was time to "recognize the invisible," speaking on behalf of veterans and railing against Clinton's pro-war stances.

"We want our candidate to be president, because he's reaching for the stars," she continued.

Dawson called into question the Democratic party's conduct surrounding New York's closed primary, and implored young people to get out and vote. She called out real estate developers and their efforts to gentrify the city, which "pushes out New Yorkers," and asked the people to vote.

"I don't think that there's any doubt that our campaign today has the momentum," Sanders began, remarking on his current string of wins.

Sanders went on to call out Clinton for her fundraising, saying the largest Super PAC working for Clinton "reported raising $25 million from special interests, including $15 million from Wall Street alone."

The Democratic hopeful repeated his usual concerns to his New York audience: pay equality, an end to discriminatory voting laws against minorities, police violence, and corporate greed. "When I grew up in Brooklyn, the American Dream was alive and well," he recalled, indicting corporate greed.

Sanders highlighted his anti-war stance, and contrasted his vote against the Iraq war with Clinton's pro-war vote.

The environment also figured into the differences, saying that he was against destructive oil company techniques such as fracking, while Clinton supports it.

He repeated his call to open a path to citizenship for the 11 million undocumented workers in the U.S., and said the U.S. "owed the Native Americans a debt of gratitude that we could never repay."

Sanders then spoke on his campaign's attentive ear to the youth, and demanded that public universities and trade schools should be tuition free.

"We can change the status quo."

Sanders is initiating several "Get out the Vote" rallies ahead of the April 19 primary, and supporters have been waiting to see him since as early as 7 a.m., according to local New York outlet The Gothamist.

The park, in Manhattan's Greenwich Village, is usually a bustling locale for locals and tourists alike, but police officers have cordoned off the area in anticipation of a large turnout.

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