More than 40 tar sands protesters rallied at an Obama fundraiser in Portland, Maine on Friday September 30th. Hundreds of Obama supporters standing on line to attend the fundraising event at the Ocean Gateway pier saw and heard the group chanting “Hey Michelle, No XL!” as the First Lady’s motorcade arrived.
The group included more than a dozen students from Colby College, with students also from the University of Maine at Farmington, and College of the Atlantic. Other protesters were several area residents, clean energy advocates associated with Maine Interfaith Power & Light, and five Maine veterans of the tar sands action in Washington DC. earlier this fall.
Colby student and club leader Renzo Moyano said he felt the need to take action because of the grave challenges his generation faces.
“Fortunately, people are starting to wake up,” said Moyano. “I like to think that our club is but a single part of this revolution.”
Among the many well-wishers, the group was paid a friendly visit by a staffer from Representative Chellie Pingree’s office on his way to the fundraiser. Students from Colby’s Environmental Coalition club also handed out tar sands leaflets on the sidewalk.
Organizer Greg Kimber of Farmington said he’s been concerned about the climate issue for several years and was arrested at the tar sands action in Washington DC. “I went down to DC and when I came back to Maine I felt like someone needed to jump in and get something rolling.”
Kimber was a 2008 Obama campaigner and said his level of support for the President in 2012 is tied to the administration’s decision on the Keystone XL pipeline.
Media attention toward the rally was sparse, though you might get a laugh from this video by the Portland Press Herald, which shows the arrival of the First lady’s motorcade accompanied by loud chanting by the protesters off-camera. http://www.pressherald.com/news/portland-gives-first-lady-mainly-warm-welcome_2011-10-01.html