Chemical bomb thrown at Occupy Maine camp early Sunday morning

The Occupy Maine encampment in Lincoln Park on Monday morning. The communal tent which had an explosive thrown at it Sunday monring is being moved further into Lincoln Park.
Noah Hurowitz | The Free Press
The Occupy Maine encampment in Lincoln Park on Monday morning. The communal tent which had an explosive thrown at it Sunday monring is being moved further into Lincoln Park.

Posted on October 24, 2011 in News
By Noah Hurowitz

An explosive device was thrown at the communal tent in the Occupy Maine encampment in Lincoln Park early Sunday morning.

Acting Police Chief Michael Sauschuck said officers were on the scene for two hours gathering evidence. He said physical evidence was gathered from the scene, but did not go into further detail, citing the ongoing investigation.

Members of Occupy Maine told The Free Press and other news outlets Monday morning that police had a suspect and would soon make an arrest, which Sauschuck denied.

“The investigation is still continuing,” he said.

Stephanie Wilburn, 19, said she and about four other people were gathered in the camp kitchen and communal area at about 4 a.m. Sunday when the attack happened.

“A silver sedan drove by a couple times honking and shouting,” Wilburn said. On its last pass, Wilburn said the campers heard a thud, and thought something had fallen over. But within moments there was an explosion, knocking over signs and making a table jump about a foot in the air.

Wilburn said the bomb consisted of several chemicals mixed in a Gatorade bottle and caused a loud bang and some smoke.

Police did not give exact details on the composition of the bomb, only saying it was a mixture of solvents found in most kitchens and bathrooms.

According to police, another loud bang heard an hour before the incident in Lincoln Park may indicate Occupy Maine was not the sole target. Sauschuck said officers responding to disturbance near the corner of Cumberland Avenue and Chapel Street heard nearby a bang characteristic of a shotgun blast or the type of explosive lobbed at Occupy Maine.

Sauschuck stopped short of linking the noise with the incident at the camp, but said a connection has not been ruled out.

Since the attack campers have begun moving the communal area further into Lincoln Park away from Congress Street. Wilburn said the tent has been moved within range of the security cameras of the nearby courthouse with the hope that any future attack would be caught on film.

Wilburn said she and others at camp were saddened by the attack. “We’re disappointed someone would do this,” she said. “We’re standing up for everyone’s rights. It’s just biting the hand that feeds you.”

A press release sent out by Occupy Maine said many campers are fearful of further attacks. The release said the suspect  car was an older model silver sedan.

Anyone with information on the attack is asked to contact the Portland Police Department at 874-8575.