Portland police arrested 11 pro-Palestine protesters Friday afternoon after they blocked traffic on Franklin Street for about 45 minutes.

A group of more than 100 demonstrators, led by the Maine Coalition for Palestine, gathered near Franklin Street and Marginal Way around 1 p.m. to call for an immediate cease-fire in Gaza.

As those ranks swelled closer to 200, protesters holding large signs and banners moved into the street to block traffic.

“Stop arming genocide,” read one sign.

“How do you sleep at night?” read another.


Ash Hebert, an organizer with the Maine Coalition for Palestine, said that the group has attempted to share its message in several peaceful ways, including reaching out directly to lawmakers, but has largely been met with silence or condemnation from government officials.

More than 27,000 Palestinians in Gaza have been killed since Israel launched its offensive following the Oct. 7 attack, according to the Hamas-controlled Palestinian Health Ministry. The United Nations has said that figure, which includes both civilian and combatant deaths, is largely accurate.

At about 1:45 p.m., police began warning protesters that they would be arrested if they didn’t move off the road. They twice issued 10-minute warnings, as more than a dozen police vehicles converged on the intersection.

As the deadlines approached, many protesters abandoned the roadway, which allowed police to reopen one side of the street. Eventually, only 11 people remained sitting in the road, arms linked.

Other protesters alternated between applauding and voicing their disapproval for the officers who finally began binding their wrists with zip-ties and leading them into a police van at around 2:35 p.m.

“Shame on you Portland PD,” the group chanted. “The whole world is watching.”


Demonstrators gave a final cheer after police made their 11th and final arrest. Within 15 minutes, police left the scene and protesters were beginning to disburse.

Those arrested were Mark Roman, 76, of Solon; Sophia Fuller, 77, of Belfast; Abigail Fuller, 63, of Portland; Jamila Fuller, 69, of Waldo; Paige Milligan, 34, of Brunswick; Lisa Savage, 69, of Solon; Roryalice Hoecker, 29, of Portland; Haley Marchant, 33, of Old Orchard Beach; Hallie Herz, 25, of Portland; Yusef Ebrahim, 27, of Portland; and Natalie Joyce, 25, of Waterville.

Everyone arrested was charged with obstructing a public way and taken to Cumberland County Jail, the Portland Police Department said on social media.

All 11 people arrested were released on $60 bail.

Lisa Savage, one of the protesters who was arrested, said she would risk arrest again if that’s what needs to be done to direct the public’s attention to the war in Gaza.

“Israel’s genocide on Gaza is happening right before our eyes,” she said. “We are trying to get the public’s attention and demand that the U.S. government stop supporting genocide. Our message is no business as usual until there is a cease-fire in Gaza.”


Savage, 69, compared the violence against Palestinians to the Holocaust.

“If you ever wondered what you would have done during the Holocaust, it’s what you’re doing right now,” she said.

Hamas officials said Friday that the group is studying a proposed cease-fire deal that would include prolonged pauses in fighting in Gaza and swaps of Israeli hostages for Palestinian prisoners, but the militants also want thousands of Palestinian prisoners being held for acts related to the conflict with Israel to be released, including those serving life sentences.

This report contains material from The Associated Press.  

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