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Union-Organized Protesters Get Themselves Arrested Trespassing in Sen. Susan Collins' Office

People smiling at a jail.

On Monday, liberal protesters organized by the AFL-CIO staged a stunt to get themselves thrown in jail for media attention. Five people staged a sit-in inside a district office for Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) in Bangor and refused to leave, even when the building would close after business hours. They were arrested for trespassing.

"You are occupying the premises unlawfully and without permission and in violation of trespass. I am ordering you to leave the premises. If you do not leave, you will be arrested," Bangor Police Department Sgt. Myron Warner said in a video one of the protesters filmed.

"Not leaving until Collins meets with us and agrees to stand up for the working class," Sarah Bigney, a staff member at the Maine branch of the AFL-CIO, tweeted in defiance after police told her to leave.

Refusing to leave, the five were escorted into police vehicles and booked at the Penobscot County Jail. Released on bail, the group took a photo to glory in their act of protest.

“We are staying until we talk to Senator Collins by phone or in person unless we are arrested,” 66-year old Jim Betts, a protester, said shortly before the office closed at 5 p.m.

In addition to Betts and Bigney, three others were arrested: Erin Oberson, a nurse at Eastern Maine Medical Center; Nick Paquet, and electrician; and Tina Davidson, a military veteran and disability activist.

Collins was in Washington, D.C., at the time of the sit-in and did not communicate with protesters. Staff did speak with them, however, and the senator later responded in a statement.