Nasri Warsame, a newcomer to politics and a Somali immigrant who is running for the seat currently held by Aisha Chughtai, said Wednesday: “I do not condone violence. I do not condone bullying or harassment of any kind.”
Saturday’s convention was held to endorse a candidate for the Minneapolis City Council race. Video circulating on social networks shows a disturbance it happened after Chughtai supporters took the stage to seek delegate endorsements for the seat. That caused an uproar among Warsame’s supporters.
Some jumped onto the stage, yelling, banging on tables and waving signs. At least two people were injured and the convention broke up without endorsement.
Warsame campaign manager Abshir Omar said Wednesday that Warsame supporters were victims, not perpetrators. Omar said Warsame’s supporters, who are mainly black, Muslim and immigrant, have been targets of racism.
A Chughtai spokesman, Akhi Menawat, said on Wednesday that the Chughtai campaign was still reviewing what was said at the Warsame news conference. Menawat previously said that he did not believe the dispute had anything to do with ethnicity or race.
Minnesota’s Democratic leaders will hold an emergency meeting Thursday to determine whether the rules should change as a result of the riots. Ken Martin, chairman of the state Democratic Party organization, said he would use the meeting to propose a change that would “ban individuals involved in violent assaults” from the party and “take immediate steps to remove those involved.”
Both Warsame and Chughtai are Democratic candidates in an overwhelmingly Democratic city where campaigns for the party’s endorsement are often heated.
Warsame is a political newcomer who is campaigning on a message of law and order. Chughtai is a longtime activist who led the 2018 campaign of US Representative Ilhan Omar. She is the daughter of Pakistani immigrants and is endorsed by a long list of progressive and labor groups, including the Democratic Socialists of America.
Trisha Ahmed is a staff member of the Associated Press/Report for America Statehouse News Initiative. Report for America is a nonprofit national service program that places journalists in local newsrooms to report on hidden issues. Follow Trisha Ahmed on Twitter: @TrishaAhmed15
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