SKOWHEGAN — Selene Spivak said she was afraid to take her 22-month-old daughter, Genevieve, on Sunday to the bridge in Skowhegan to join other peace activists carrying signs opposing the wars in the Middle East.

Two weeks ago, she said, an intimidating group of Donald Trump supporters harassed and threatened her and her mother-in-law, Lisa Savage, of Solon.

She took her daughter Sunday anyway — in an infant carrier backpack.

“I was just a little worried, having her around angry hateful people,” said Spivak, 27, of Skowhegan, on Sunday on the Margaret Chase Smith Bridge. “But I feel if I had her on my back, I’d feel a little bit safer because she’s right next to me. And I really wanted to come today especially, because it seems like hatred is taking over our country and I wanted to help bring more of a peaceful energy to the bridge today.”

Spivak held a peace sign Sunday, with small safety pins drawn on it, a practice which originated in the United Kingdom after the British vote to leave the European Union, as a symbol of strength and togetherness for peace and against racism, she said.

Abby Shahn, of Solon, said she and others have been going to the bridge in peaceful demonstration at noon every Sunday for the past decade. The group — Bridges for Peace — began as an offshoot of the Women in Black demonstrations, in which women, all dressed in black clothing, stood silently in opposition to war.


She said President-elect Trump has to bring the nation together against violence and racism.

“Trump has a responsibility right now,” Shahn said, holding her own sign calling for peace in Syria. “There’s all these anti-Islamic things that have been happening, and violent sort of people. His responsibility right now is to stand up and say, ‘Don’t do that — not in my name.’ I’m really intimidated by it all. I’m not scared for myself. I’m scared for my country, for my grandkids.”

On Saturday, a fourth day of protests against Donald Trump’s election occurred, with marchers taking to the streets in Boston; Miami; Atlanta; Austin, Texas; Los Angeles; San Francisco; and other cities. In Portland, Ore., police said a man was shot on a bridge by a suspect who then fled.

In Portland, Maine, about 400 people marched on Saturday from the Eastern Promenade to the Western Promenade in an event organized to promote volunteerism in the wake of Trump’s election as president, the Portland Press Herald reported.

The crowd cheered and chanted, “Not my president” and “Love trumps hate.” The marchers were organized by volunteers from Hardy Girls Healthy Women, a Waterville nonprofit focused on the health and well-being of women and girls.

Others on the bridge Sunday in Skowhegan were less concerned about Trump and his followers and more concerned about the nation’s reliance on foreign oil and what Americans are willing to do to keep the oil flowing. James Fangboner and Mark Roman said it doesn’t matter if Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama or Trump is president; the wars have to stop, and that’s why they show up every Sunday with their placards.


“I think peace is dead as long as Big Oil is on the scene, generally,” Fangboner said carrying a “Nobomba” sign. “Most of our wars are about oil. We can say we’re trying to spread democracy, but I think everyone knows that’s like bull.”

As for the Trump component to his message, Fangboner said : “Meet the new boss, same as the old boss. It’ll be different, but probably worse because stuff’s just getting worse, generally. It would have been getting worse with Hillary. Our nation is sort of devolving.”

Roman, also of Solon, said from the bridge that the focus of the demonstrations each Sunday is the seven wars the United States is engaged in around the globe, no matter who is president.

Roman said it is somewhat of a good sign that Trump is willing to talk with the Russians about solving the situation in Syria.

“Don’t bomb Syria,” he said. “I think it’s the international community. It’s their responsibility to stop it, not just the United States. Putting more weapons into the fray is not a good idea. Arming either side makes a lot of money for the war profiteers.”

Doug Harlow — 612-2367

[email protected]


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