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Chaos exploded on the floor of the House of Representatives last night when Speaker Paul Ryan attempted to take back control of the chamber.

Democrats, led by civil rights icon Congressman John Lewis, took over the floor earlier in the day to conduct a sit-in to force votes on gun control.

Not long after the shouts of “no bill, no break” began, House Speaker Paul Ryan ended the session and C-SPAN’s official camera feed was shut off.

The move did not deter Democrats from continuing; instead they began live-streaming the protest on Periscope.

Rep. Emanuel Cleaver spoke with Roland Martin, host of NewsOne Now, and guest co-host Laura Coates about Wednesday’s sit-in protest that captured the attention of the nation and went viral on social media platforms.

Cleaver called the action “organic” because of the manner in which the events unfolded on the House floor before the eyes of the nation. He explained Rep. John Larson expressed his desire to Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi to do something to force a vote on gun control legislation after the Senate rejected four separate bills on Monday.

According to Rep. Cleaver, Rep. Nancy Pelosi said, “If you are going to do something, you need to have somebody leading who knows what they are doing.” The Missouri Congressman said, “There is no other person on the planet alive now that knows more about this than John Lewis.”

Rep. Cleaver said Rep. Larson went to Congressman Lewis’ office to explain the situation. In turn, Lewis detailed what needed to be done in order to make an impact and instructed him to “follow my lead.”

Cleaver said Rep. Lewis was “on the floor the entire period telling us what to do.”

When House Republicans decided to end C-SPAN’s broadcast from the floor, Democrats banded together and began live-streaming the event, which is against the rules of the House. Rep. Cleaver recounted Congressman Lewis saying, “If we’re breaking one rule, we might as well break a lot of them.”

Watch Roland Martin, Laura Coates, and Rep. Cleaver discuss the origins of Wednesday’s never-before-seen sit-in protest action on the floor of the House in the video clip above. Then watch Rep. Cleaver detail how the use of the live-streaming platform Periscope came into play in the video clip below.

Watch NewsOne Now with Roland Martin, in its new time slot on TV One.

Subscribe to the “NewsOne Now” Audio Podcast on iTunes.


House Democrats Stage Sit-In For Vote On Gun Control

Rep. Emanuel Cleaver Explains The Origins Of Historic “No Bill, No Break” Sit-In  was originally published on

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