Protesters gather in Miami during first Democratic presidential debate

By Janine Stanwood - Anchor/Reporter

MIAMI - Protesters gathered Wednesday night outside the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts where 10 of the Democratic contenders vying to unseat President Donald Trump debated for the first time.

U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders also made a surprise stop outside the venue, where he shook supporters' hands. He will take the stage for the second night of the debate Thursday.

"What we're going to be talking about is the need for the United States to finally do what every other major country does and guarantee health care to every person as a human right," Sanders told Local 10's Janine Stanwood. "We're going to be talking about raising the minimum wage to $15 an hour, and we're going to be talking about making public colleges and universities tuition free and basically making economic rights human rights."

Just feet from the debate hall were gaggles of groups with their own platforms, including climate change, abortion rights and rights for immigrants, which was displayed through a homemade Homestead detention fence, referring to the Homestead shelter for migrant children. 

"We want this place shut down," one protester said. 

Police groups, meanwhile, funded a billboard showing who they won't support.

"Bill DeBlasio is a liar," Patrick Lynch, of the Police Benevolent Association of New York City, said. "His slogan is 'Workers first.' He puts New York City workers dead last."

Republicans were also taking advantage of the eyeballs at the event with their own take on the night's debate. 

"They want to give everything for free. Who's going to pay for it?" Martin Bermudez said. 

"We moved to Florida, got married. My ex-husband had a business and realized it was better under Republican rule," Hilary Sue said.  
 

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