Twitter's Periscope Plays Crucial Role in Democratic Sit-in

PHOTO: A supporter watches the proceedings being streamed live from the House floor by Democrats taking part in a sit-in on the House Chamber outside the U.S. Capitol, June 23, 2016, in Washington.PlayPete Marovich/Getty Images
WATCH Democrats Stage Gun Control Sit-In on House Floor

The Democratic sit-in over gun control last night almost fell into a broadcasting black hole until tech savvy representatives took out their smartphones and began broadcasting on Periscope.

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The live-streaming service, which was launched by Twitter 15 months ago, proved to be an invaluable tool for Democratic lawmakers who converged on the House floor after House Speaker Paul Ryan adjourned the session.

As of Wednesday night, tweets sent with Periscopes from Rep. Scott Peters (D-California) and Rep. Eric Swalwell had been viewed more than 1 million times, according to Twitter's communications team.

C-SPAN, which broadcasts House of Representatives sessions, was unable to televise the demonstration using its cameras but found a clever way around the rules by putting Peters' Periscope stream on the air and later using a Facebook Live video from Rep. Beto O'Rourke (D-Texas).

"This is the first time we’ve shown this. We’ve used Periscope and social media as part of our overall coverage. But what we’re showing right now is unusual and extraordinary," Howard Mortman, C-SPAN's communications director, told The Washingtonian.

While Republicans dismissed the demonstrations as a "stunt," Democratic lawmakers found support from some of their constituents through social media, where many people cheered them on with the hashtag #NoBillNoBreak and #DisarmHate, among others.

There were also snacks delivered to the chamber and the promise of pizza, according to Rep. John Yarmuth.

In a 3:30 a.m. news conference amid #NoBillNoBreak marathon, Democrats declared victory after more than 17 hours of turmoil on the House floor, despite not getting the votes on gun control they had sought.

ABC News' Katherine Faulders and Ben Siegel contributed to this report.

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