Democratic Party convention descends into ‘complete chaos’ in Minnesota

The leader of Minnesota’s Democratic Party says he is calling an emergency meeting this week to “ban individuals engaged in violent assaults” from its ranks after a tense confrontation erupted over the weekend at an event to nominate candidates for a Minneapolis City Council seat.

The showdown between supporters of Minneapolis Council Member Aisha Chughtai and her challenger, Nasri Warsame, on Saturday has been surrounded by allegations of assault from both campaigns ahead of the November election.

Video shows the incident began after a crowd of Chughtai supporters took the stage in preparation for her speech, which caused an uproar among Warsame supporters. Some Warsame supporters then jumped on the stage, shouting, banging on tables and waving signs. The Ward 10 convention ultimately was adjourned without a nominee being chosen.

“Stop! This is embarrassing!” a party official could be heard shouting into a microphone. “The police are being called, everyone leave the building now. Out! Out! I’m shutting this down! This is no longer safe.”


Bridget Siljander, a Chughtai supporter, told the Associated Press that the scene in Minneapolis was “complete chaos.”

“I was scared some of us might die,” she said, adding that she saw people punching, shoving and pushing each other on the floor.

Minneapolis police spokesperson Brian Feintech said no arrests were made and attendees were filing out of the building when law enforcement arrived. At least two people were reported injured. 

“After reviewing video evidence & talking to convention participants it is clear that the assaults and violence at the Ward 10 convention were perpetrated by supporters of Nasri Warsame. There is no place in the Minnesota DFL for this type of behavior,” Ken Martin, chairman of the state Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party – an affiliate of the national Democratic Party – wrote on Twitter.

“I will be calling an emergency meeting of our State Executive Committee to address the issues on Ward 10,” he added. “I will be proposing a bylaw to ban individuals engaged in violent assaults from the DFL Party and will then take immediate action to remove the folks involved in Ward 10.”


Chughtai’s campaign called the incident “horrifying, unacceptable, and indicative of the growing threat to progressive, pro-people candidates and movement leaders.”

“During the Ward 10 Convention, the Nasri Warsame campaign continually made people feel unsafe. They intimidated delegates and alternates, harassed and threatened DFL volunteers, and assaulted me and my supporters. One ambulance was called – it was for a DFL volunteer,” it said.

“Over a dozen of our supporters and DFL volunteers were physically assaulted that we know of right now; there are likely more who haven’t gotten in touch with us yet,” the campaign added. “The Warsame campaign punched multiple women of color on our campaign team, and shoved and harassed LGBTQIA2S+ delegates and supporters.”

In response, Warsame said, “I do not condone violence and I do not condone [Saturday’s] events. The incident should have never happened. I apologize to those who were impacted, and I pray for all who were injured.”

“As many credible witnesses can attest, my requests for people to stop the violence went unanswered, even after I went on stage and pleaded for order. One person who participated in the violence was a volunteer, not a member of my campaign staff,” he continued. “This person was appropriately and immediately removed as a volunteer and should be permanently banned from any future conventions. I challenge Aisha’s campaign to take the same action against individuals in her camp who participated in the violence, especially to the person who assaulted my campaign manager and a delegate.”

Warsame also said the DFL party “prematurely published a statement and failed to accurately include first-hand accounts or videos taken by our campaign that shows the violence was not one-sided and rested the blame solely on my campaign.”

The party, on its website, says for more than 70 years it has “worked tirelessly to enact progressive policies and provide a platform for those who need it the most.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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