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Democrats leave Capitol to join student gun protest

Democratic leaders in the House and Senate exited the Capitol on Wednesday to march with and speak to students protesting gun violence to mark one month since the Parkland, Fla., school shooting.

Senior members of Democratic leadership joined other lawmakers from the House and Senate on Capitol Hill as thousands of students marched while others around the country walked out of classes or staged other protests.

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Senate Minority Leader Charles SchumerChuck SchumerBiden 'encouraged' by meeting with congressional leaders on infrastructure Republicans welcome the chance to work with Democrats on a bipartisan infrastructure bill Cheney sideshow distracts from important battle over Democrats' partisan voting bill MORE (N.Y.) and House Minority Leader Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiIncreasingly active younger voters liberalize US electorate Sunday shows preview: House GOP removes Cheney from leadership position; CDC issues new guidance for fully vaccinated Americans The Memo: Lawmakers on edge after Greene's spat with Ocasio-Cortez MORE (Calif.) both spoke to the demonstrators, while other Democrats such as Sen. Richard Blumenthal (Conn.), Rep. Ted DeutchTheodore (Ted) Eliot DeutchPelosi: Greene's 'verbal assault' of Ocasio-Cortez could be a matter for Ethics Committee Democrats fume over silence from DeSantis on Florida election Republican, Democratic lawmakers urge fully funding US assistance to Israel MORE (Fla.) and Rep. Keith EllisonKeith EllisonState trial for former officers charged in George Floyd's death moved to next year Lawyer for former officer charged in George Floyd death alleges witness coercion Ruling clears way for longer Chauvin sentence in George Floyd murder MORE (Minn.) were spotted in the crowd.

"[We are] representing in Congress the students who have sacrificed so much, spoken so eloquently, commanded the attention of the nation," Pelosi told the crowd. "We are all moved by your eloquence and fearless insistence on action to prevent gun violence."

"Don't give up the fight! We will win," added Schumer.

Video captured by BuzzFeed news showed dozens of Democratic lawmakers and staff members walking down the steps of the Capitol to join the protest in the "Congressional Solidarity Walkout."

A large crowd of students surrounded progressive Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersWarren calls for US to support ceasefire between Israel and Hamas Prominent Muslim group to boycott White House Eid celebration over stance on Israel-Gaza violence Biden speaks with Israel's Netanyahu again amid ramped-up strikes in Gaza MORE (I-Vt.), whose 2016 presidential campaign was buoyed by support from younger voters. Sanders, speaking through a megaphone, thanked the students for their protest and declared that student protesters were "leading the nation" in the conversation on gun violence.

"All across this country, people are sick and tired of gun violence, and the time is now for all of us together to stand up," Sanders said.

Similar crowds of students clustered around Sen. Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth WarrenWarren calls for US to support ceasefire between Israel and Hamas Sanders: Netanyahu has cultivated 'racist nationalism' Tensions mount among Democrats over US-Israel policy MORE (D-Mass.), who posted photos on Twitter of eager students looking for a selfie.

"These kids are leading the charge against gun violence — and I’m proud to be here fighting alongside them," Warren wrote on Twitter.

The protest from student activists and Democrats comes exactly one month after 17 students and faculty were killed at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla. The suspected gunman was allegedly armed with an AR-15 rifle.

The White House announced its own plan to reduce gun violence on Sunday, but it backs away from two proposals President TrumpDonald TrumpSunday shows preview: House GOP removes Cheney from leadership position; CDC issues new guidance for fully vaccinated Americans Navajo Nation president on Arizona's new voting restrictions: An 'assault' on our rights The Memo: Lawmakers on edge after Greene's spat with Ocasio-Cortez MORE had previously indicated he'd support: Universal background checks and raising the age requirement for rifle purchases.

On Monday, White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders defended the administration from reporters who questioned whether Trump had "chickened out" in the face of opposition from the National Rifle Association (NRA).

“He hasn't backed away from these things at all,” Sanders said at a press briefing. “He can’t make them happen with a broad stroke of the pen. You have to have some congressional component to do some of these things, and without that support, it's not as possible.”