Howa Mohamed shared this video and commentary with Pine and Roses’ readers after witnessing an August 14 march in Portland, Maine protesting Gov. Janet Mills’s Covid-19 vaccine mandate for healthcare workers in Maine starting October 1. The march was organized by Mainers for Freedom which plans to hold more protests against vaccine mandates as the Delta variant sweeps the globe and Maine’s daily Covid-19 infection and hospitalization numbers climb sharply.
On Saturday afternoon, before heading out to run my errands, I stopped by the 7-Eleven on Congress Street to fill up my tank. Within seconds, I heard some chanting coming towards my direction. A few minutes later, I watched as a crowd of at least 200 people marched on the sidewalk, many of them holding posters condemning COVID-19 vaccinations. There were several different ones with various slogans, “Not FDA approved” being one of the more popular. I spotted some interesting flags and placards fairly quickly as the protestors marched on, including an older man who held a poster made of cardboard that compared America to the Soviet Union. It read: “This is (American flag) not (Soviet Union flag). Another protestor took a different route and decided to simply draw the Soviet Union flag on his sign. I saw a few crowd marshals directing the group down the street, chanting different slogans in their megaphones to get the crowd to follow. Ironically enough, one of them was “My Body, My Choice” a phrase popularized by the feminist movement to promote body autonomy and reproductive rights. The crowd eventually switched to “Freedom, Not Force.” I made eye contact with some of the protestors and had mixed reactions. One older gentleman smiled and held out his hand for a handshake, and I quickly stepped back to tell him I was not in agreement with their movement. I couldn’t hear his response as the chants grew louder. The crowd consisted of veterans, several young families, adults of all ages, and even a few nurses in their scrubs. From what I saw, they congregated at Longfellow Square to continue the rest of their protest. I went back into my car and headed in the opposite direction, hoping that by the time I drove back in town the roads would be clear again.