AUGUSTA, Maine — An 18-year-old man who has been staying at the Occupy Augusta site in a park near the State House was charged Wednesday with arson in a fire that destroyed a tent at the encampment.
The State Fire Marshal’s Office charged Matthew Meyer of Warren with arson two days after the fire at the Capitol Park encampment. Meyer is scheduled to appear in Kennebec County Superior Court on Feb. 14.
Capitol Police Chief Russell Gauvin said Meyer turned himself in on Wednesday morning. Meyer said he had been staying at the encampment for a month and planned to move into the vacant tent, Gauvin said. Meyer also claimed he was a volunteer firefighter and admitted to starting the fire. Gauvin then issued him a trespass notice, prohibiting Meyer from all state-owned property in Augusta.
Occupy Augusta’s continued encampment remained a disputed issue in federal court in Bangor, where activists have requested an order allowing the activists to remain in Capitol Park without a permit.
U.S. District Judge Nancy Torresen said during a hearing Monday that she expected to rule on the request within two days, but no decision had been filed by the time court closed Wednesday.
The protesters agreed last week not to add to their “tent city,” which had been reduced in size as activists removed many of the tents. Police, meanwhile, agreed not to press forward with their demand that the campers get a permit and to take no action to evict them until the court rules.