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After Biden speech disrupted, U.S. lawmakers want Secret Service to protect candidates

Former US Vice President Joe Biden delivers the Class Day address at Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA 24 May 2017 (reissued 25 April 2019). Biden announced that he will seek democratic nomination for the 2020 US elections. EPA-EFE/LISA HORNAK

LOS ANGELES, March 4 (Reuters) - U.S. lawmakers on Wednesday sought Secret Service protection for Democratic presidential candidates, after Joe Biden's wife and a senior staffer had to protect the former vice president from protesters during a victory speech.

Biden’s victory speech in Los Angeles was briefly interrupted on Super Tuesday when a pair of protesters leapt onto the stage, before Jill Biden and senior adviser Symone Sanders charged them and ushered them off the stage.

“We’re OK,” Biden said after the incident, which highlighted a glaring hole in security for Biden and other top contenders seeking the Democratic nomination to take on President Donald Trump on Nov. 3.

“The Democratic Congress is worried,” Biden supporter Representative Cedric Richmond told reporters on a conference call. The request for protection was sent to acting U.S. Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf.

The activists opposed the dairy industry and protesters with the same agenda have also disrupted events with Biden rival U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders.

The U.S. House of Representatives’ Committee on Homeland Security made the request for Secret Service protection for both Biden and Sanders.

The Secret Service provides security for the president and his family, including lifetime support for former occupants of the Oval Office and routinely provides security for high-profile presidential candidates.

Federal law authorizes Secret Service protection for vice presidents and their families for up to six months after they leave office. (Reporting by Trevor Hunnicutt; editing by Scott Malone, Chris Reese and David Gregorio)

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