Secret Service rushes stage to protect Sanders for second time in a week

Story highlights

  • Several protesters interrupted the Vermont senator with loud chants during a rally in Modesto
  • Two United States Secret Service agents jumped up on the podium to protect the senator

Modesto, California (CNN)Secret Service agents on Thursday rushed a stage here to protect Bernie Sanders for the second time this week after he was interrupted by animal rights protesters.

Toward the top of his speech at the Modesto Centre Plaza, several protesters interrupted the Vermont senator with loud chants, including two men who unfurled a black banner from an elevated riser to the left of the stage that read, "Animal Liberation is Social Justice."
    A man and a woman stood near the front of the barricade with small signs reading, "Until Every Animal is Free." They were both escorted out.
    Two United States Secret Service agents jumped up on the podium to protect the senator, who stopped speaking momentarily.
    Sanders supporters booed the protesters, and someone in the crowd pulled down the banner -- and with it, one of the protesters. Meanwhile, the crowd chanted, "Bernie, Bernie."
    The incident lasted only a few minutes and the senator was never in evident danger. When the protesters were removed, he said, "As I was saying, what the American people are tired of, is large multinational corporations and Wall Street and the corporate media are exercising unbelievable power over the political and economic life of this country."
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    He continued, "By the way, what things like that are about is the understanding that that is what the media will focus on. That's why guys do it. I understand that. The media will not talk about why the middle class continues to decline."
    On Monday evening, Sanders was interrupted by at least four people at a rally in Oakland, California, who rushed the stage, causing the Secret Service to swarm the Vermont senator, who was uninjured.
    Direct Action Everywhere, a group of animal rights activists, claimed responsibility for both protests.
    "Our activists have been particularly concerned with Bernie Sanders since he is the most progressive candidate in the race and has been publicly dismissive toward animal advocates," said Zach Groff, a spokesman for the group.
    The Vermont senator began receiving Secret Service protection in early February during the early part of the presidential primary season.