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Protesters Arrested In Sit-In At Susan Collins’ Office Make Donation To Social Justice Group

A.J. Higgins
Maine Public
James Betts of Winthrop and Tina Davidson of Portland discuss their reasons for staging a sit-in last week at U.S. Sen. Susan Collins' Bangor office.

Five protesters who were arrested last week at U.S. Sen. Susan Collins’ Bangor office on criminal trespass charges will collectively donate $500 to a Brewer food distribution group.

As part of a negotiated agreement with Penobscot County District Attorney R. Christopher Almy, in exchange for a dismissal of all charges, Old Town demonstrator Erin Oberson told reporters Monday that the activists will make their cash donation to Food and Medicine, a social justice group at the Solidarity Center in Brewer.

“Today the five of us are here to announce that we each will be making a $100 donation to Food and Medicine,” she said. “Food and Medicine does terrific work here in the community to address issues facing low-income Mainers. Over the Thanksgiving holiday season they donated over 1,000 meals for needy families in Maine.”

Oberson and her four former co-defendants were arrested for refusing to leave Collins’ office as part of a protest against the senator’s support of the Senate GOP tax package, which the demonstrators described as a giveaway to the super-rich.

One of activists, James Betts, of Winthrop, said he has no regrets over his arrest.

“This is a terrible bill,” he said. “My family is so proud of me. My friends are proud of me. I just wasn’t expecting this simple little sit-in to turn into what it has.”

Each of the demonstrators could have potentially faced fines of $1,000 had the case gone to court.