A few dozen protesters gathered outside Portland City Hall on Thursday to rally against domestic terrorism and white supremacy.
Diane Russell, a former Democratic state lawmaker, organized the protest along with Hamdia Ahmed, a local activist. Russell called on Republican Senator Susan Collins to move forward with legislation to defend the country against domestic terrorism.
“We have one of the most powerful U.S. senators in the country, Susan Collins, and if she could stop clutching her pearls and talking about being disappointed long enough to actually do something, something would actually get done,” Russell said.
Jonathan Treacy, former deputy director for antiterrorism and homeland defense at the Pentagon, told the crowd that preventative measures are the only way to suppress threats of domestic terrorism.
“We didn’t prevent the attack so, therefore, I don’t think in this day and age, losing one person or having one person being injured could be measured as a success,” he said.
Treacy said Maine’s congressional delegation plays a public and powerful role, and called on them to institute red flag laws to prevent gun violence.
Other local activist groups joined in the protest, including the Maine Gun Safety Coalition, who called for rational gun policy and responsible gun ownership.
Protesters held signs with messages such as, “The crisis is not at the border,” and, “Words and inaction have consequences.” Russell said she hopes their messages will reach Maine leaders and encourage them to take action.