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Minutes Before Debate, GOP Contender Alan Keyes Taken Into Custody

keyes

ATLANTA, Ga. (AllPolitics, Mar. 3) -- Republican presidential contender Alan Keyes was taken into custody outside a local television station Sunday night where he was protesting that he was excluded from a GOP candidates' debate that was about to begin.

Atlanta police initially said Keyes was arrested but later said he probably would not be charged. The incident took place outside of WSB-TV. The U.S. Secret Service had requested his removal, according to Elizabeth Watson, an Atlanta police officer. A spokesman for the Secret Service said he didn't know if federal officers were involved.

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The incident took place about 7:40 p.m., 20 minutes before Lamar Alexander, Steve Forbes and Pat Buchanan were to debate the issues in the contest for the GOP nomination.

An Atlanta police officer on the scene had originally said Keyes was expected to be charged with criminal trespass. Considered a longshot for the nomination, Keyes had camped out in front of the ABC affiliate studio most of the day to protest that he was not invited to participate in the debate.

"They put handcuffs on him and dragged him away," said CNN reporter Dan Young. "He kept saying this is unjust."

Only the front-runners were invited to attend the debate. Bob Dornan and Dick Lugar also weren't invited. Front-runner Bob Dole was invited to participate, but declined.

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