Protesters hold a die-in on Washington Street in Bath near Bath Iron Works during a rally on Friday calling for a permanent cease fire in Gaza and for the U.S. to end military support to Israel. Gregory Rec/Staff Photographer

Gloved hands holding handmade signs, workers heading home from a shift and police cruisers flashing blue lights converged beneath the 400-foot Bath Iron Works crane as the sun set Friday over the Kennebec River in Bath, where roughly 250 people protested in solidarity with the people of Gaza.

Dozens lay prone on cold asphalt, wrapped in sheets splashed with red paint, to block cars trying to leave the shipyard, while others chanted, calling for Israel to end its occupation of the Gaza strip.

A person participating in a die-in on Washington Street near BIW in Bath holds a sign saying “free Palestine” during a rally on Friday calling for a permanent cease fire in Gaza and for the U.S. to end military support to Israel. Gregory Rec/Staff Photographer

“Our target is not the workers, our target is the war machine and the government that funds it” said Cecil Carey, the protest’s self-described “emcee.” “We are out here today to end the genocide in Palestine. We’ve got money for war but can’t feed the poor. Let’s spend Mainers’ money on helping Mainers.”

Dan Asher, of Bristol, stayed on the fringe of the protest, which was concentrated near the intersection of Washington and King streets.

“I think that drawing a connection to war profiteering and the government’s policy regarding the war on Palestinian people is an important thing to highlight,” he said. “Even though the war seems like it’s halfway around the world, our tax money is funding it.”

Others used more aggressive rhetoric to make a point about the Israel-Hamas war.


“Every time the media lies, another neighborhood in Palestine dies,” many chanted, “there is only one solution, an Intifada revolution!”

Intifada, an Arabic word that translates to “shivering” or “shaking off,” has been used to refer to two previous Palestinian uprisings aimed at ending Israeli occupation of Gaza and the West Bank. The most recent Intifada, which took place in the early 2000s, prompted heightened Israeli military presence in Gaza and the West Bank, as well as further construction of Israel’s border wall. It was the source of aggravated violence toward civilians, including a string of suicide bombings in Israel that were sanctioned by Hamas.

Bath Iron Works often has stood as a Maine symbol of U.S. military force, drawing protests over U.S. military intervention and spending. The ships made here have been indirectly involved in the conflict between Israel and Hamas and its allies abroad.

Last month, the BIW-built USS Mason was among several ships that responded to a distress call from a merchant ship off the coast of Yemen after it was hijacked by an armed crew who boarded the vessel from a smaller craft. The USS Carney, also built at BIW, shot down missiles over the Red Sea that were suspected to have been launched toward Israel by Houthi forces in Yemen.

Mickey Meader, a veteran and former boiler operator at BIW who worked at the shipyard for over four decades, came to the protest to show his support for Israel.

“I think they have a right to have a country and I would be fine if everyone would live in peace,” he said. “I’m not against Palestine, but I’m really mad (about) what happened on Oct. 7 – it wasn’t like they attacked soldiers, they attacked innocent men, women and children. That really bothers me.”


Hamas militants conducted surprise attacks on Israeli towns on Oct. 7, killing about 1,400 people and taking nearly 250 more hostage.

As the sunlight waned Friday afternoon, protesters dispersed in clumps while police ushered people across the street.

From a satellite parking lot, a group of BIW workers looked on as the rally waned.

“While I do not agree with their reasoning, I’m happy to see that it did not get ugly,” BIW employee James Pray said.

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