Protesters Rally for Maine Gov. Paul LePage to Support Syrian Refugees | NECN
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Protesters Rally for Maine Gov. Paul LePage to Support Syrian Refugees

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Since the Paris terrorist attacks, more than half of U.S. governors have voiced their opposition to accepting Syrian refugees, including Republican Gov. Paul LePage of Maine. Protesters set out Wednesday to show that LePage didn't speak for everyone in the state. (Published Wednesday, Nov. 25, 2015)

    Since the Paris terrorist attacks, more than half of U.S. governors have voiced their opposition to accepting Syrian refugees, including Republican Gov. Paul LePage of Maine.

    "If you remember 9/11, I think some [hijackers] came through Maine," said LePage. "I think we've got to be very diligent, very on top of this issue."

    But an ad hoc group of Mainers wanted to make sure LePage knew he didn't speak for everyone in the state.

    "Our family was refugees from Nazi persecution, and if they didn't find a safe place, none of these guys would exist today," said Bob Katz, motioning to his 10-year-old twins attending the rally.

    "We want innocent people who are in the war to come here, and have a free, peaceful life," said his son, Noah.

    Holding signs and singing songs about welcoming refugees, the group stood outside of the Blaine House, where LePage lives in Augusta.

    "This is our leader's place right here," said Juliet Shagoury, holding a sign on his front steps. "This is his job, to lead. And sometimes, make a difficult choice."

    Shagoury said refugees can be an economic asset to the U.S., once they establish themselves in a community.

    "I think we have an opportunity," she said.

    Other demonstrators said they wanted to dispel the idea that refugees are terrorists.

    "They're people who are trying to save their families," said Bob Katz.

    The group elicited supportive honks, and drive-by debates.

    "Leave the refugees out! We don't want them!" yelled one driver passing the protesters along State Street in Augusta.

    Organizers of the event said the rally was a grass roots effort started on social media, and they hope to form a more official group to advocate for refugees, despite no stated plans to bring Syrian refugees to the state.

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