Occupy Maine camp attacked with chemical bomb

3:48 PM, Oct 24, 2011   |    comments
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PORTLAND, Maine (NEWS CENTER) -- Occupy Maine protesters camped out in Portland's Lincoln Park were attacked early Sunday morning when someone lobbed a chemical bomb at them.  No one was seriously injured when the small, homemade bomb exploded near the camp's main meeting area around 4am.

Witnesses say they saw a small, silver sedan circle the park several times with the occupants yelling obscenities before the bomb exploded with a loud bang, followed by a thick cloud of smoke and foul smell.

"We had a car go by a couple times, honk at us, yell at us, tell us to go get jobs and call us evil names," said Stephanie Wilburn, describing what she and other members of the overnight guard detail in the camp saw and heard.  "It came back around, it slowed down and then sped up."

They heard a loud clanging sound and went to check it out, but found nothing.  After roughly 45 seconds had passed, the bomb exploded.

"It was like a 12-gauge shotgun boom with no reverberation, lots of smoke," described Wilburn.  "It smelled really bad."

Portland Police were called to the scene and recovered evidence they hope will lead to the person responsible for the attack.

The bomb cause little damage, and besides a sore throat and minor hearing loss to Wilburn and another member of the security team, caused no injuries. 

Members of Occupy Maine say they will not let the incident, or other threats they've received stop them from having their voices heard.

"We are prepared for the worst,  hoping that we don't get the worst," she said.  "We are stocked for the long haul.  I have like 12 blankets on my bed for the winter, so we are ready for this.  We are prepared.  We are willing to stay here until something happens and changes, so a little bomb isn't going to scare us away."

Portland Police say the explosion in Lincoln Park may not have been the only one in the city Sunday morning.  Acting Police Chief Michael Sauschuck says officers responding to another complaint around 3am heard a loud explosion in the vicinity of Monument Square.  He says police so far have been unable to determine if it was another chemical bomb.

Portland Police have contacted the Federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms and the District Attorney's Office to see if the penalties for the crime could be elevated due to civil rights violations.  Currently, the person responsible faces at least a charge of Criminal Use of Explosives, a Class C felony.

Portland Police ask that anyone with information about the incident contact them at 874-8533.


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