Dems turn to Facebook, Twitter after cameras turned off over gun sit-in
More than 100 Dems were sitting on the House floor Wednesday in Washington, DC, demanding that politicians finally pass gun legislation after four bills failed to make it through the US Senate last week. They took to live-streaming the protest via Facebook Live and Twitter's Periscope after the GOP majority recessed the House. By long-standing policy, that shut off cameras, ending the usual live feed to C-SPAN.
"When the session ends, the feed ends," said C-SPAN spokesman Howard Mortman, who added that the network has no control over the cameras.
After the feed stopped, people began checking out the participating Democrats' social-media posts and video streams, and C-SPAN eventually started broadcasting the posts and streams as well.
Rep. John Lewis of Georgia, a longtime civil rights icon who helped organize the sit-in, Rep. John Yarmuth of Kentucky and Rep. Joe Courtney of Connecticut took turns chanting, "No bill, no break," referring to a scheduled Senate recess for the July 4 holiday. The hashtag #NoBillNoBreak had been included in nearly 80,000 tweets by early afternoon. Texas Congressman Beto O'Rourke was one of several politicians who began live-streaming the happenings via Facebook, and thousands tuned in.
The protest action, which evokes memories of the civil rights movement in the 1960s, comes less than two weeks after 49 people were killed at a nightclub in Orlando, Florida, one of the largest mass shootings in US history.
The politicians are also using platforms such as Twitter and its Periscope live-streaming service to get their message across.
"We can no longer wait," Lewis shouted. "We can no longer be patient. So today, we come to the well of the House to dramatize the need for action. Not next month, not next year, but now -- today. Sometimes you have to do something out of the ordinary. Sometimes you have to make a way out of no way."