Dozens of protesters gathered at Portland’s Lobstermen’s Park Monday afternoon to oppose President Donald Trump’s declaration of a national emergency last week to help fund a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border.
The declaration came after federal lawmakers reached a deal to avoid a government shutdown and increase border spending by more than $1 billion. Trump signed the deal, but then declared the emergency, which would allow the president to side step Congress and redirect an additional $6.5 billion to the border.
Grayson Lookner, one of the organizers of Monday’s event, said the president’s declaration is yet another abuse of presidential power.
“Declaring this emergency is just making it visible,” Lookner said. “Like, there is no respect for rule of law, for all of these things we take for granted in this democracy we live in. This nominal democracy.”
State Rep. Michael Sylvester, a Portland Democrat, said the protests are intended to show that many Americans are opposed to divisive policies.
“We’re out here to say, the only thing that makes this country great is if we unite, if our policies help everybody, and if we don’t work out of fear, but rather out of a sense of commonality,” Sylvester said.
Similar protests were planned nationwide on Monday, including events in Augusta and Bangor.
All four members of Maine’s congressional delegation, including Republican Sen. Susan Collins, have voiced opposition to the emergency declaration. And several federal lawmakers, including Democratic Rep. Chellie Pingree, said they would support a resolution disapproving of Trump’s declaration.
This article appears through a media partnership with Maine Public.