BELFAST — Arise USA: The Resurrection Tour, a right-wing movement led by former CIA agent Robert David Steele, 2016 Libertarian presidential candidate, made its only planned stop in Maine at the Crosby Center Tuesday evening, July 27. The seats were packed and aisles were brimming with the standing room-only crowd.

Several groups of protesters convened on Church Street to express their opposition to the event. Police cruisers patrolled in front of the venue.

Protesters at the Arise USA rally July 27 across from the Crosby Center in Belfast. Photo by Fran Gonzalez

On-stage speakers included Dr. Cristiane Northrup, an ob/gyn physician from Yarmouth, and District 21 state Rep. Heidi Sampson, R-Alfred, along with Steele. Former Arizona Sheriff Richard Mack, who established the County Sheriff Project,  joined the event via Zoom.

Mack’s idea of a “constitutional” sheriff holding ultimate law-enforcement authority in his or her own jurisdiction, even above federal and state government authorities, has county sheriffs enforcing the Bill of Rights and denouncing anything that goes against their understanding of the Constitution.

Mack is known for his role in successfully suing the federal government on grounds that portions of the Brady Handgun Violence Prevention Act violated the U.S. Constitution. The U.S. Supreme Court ruled, 5-4, that the Brady Act provisions were, in fact, unconstitutional.

Ideas promoted at the event ranged wildly, spanning everything from election fraud and resistance to COVID-19 restrictions to government employees engaging in satanic pedophilia.

Stepping onto the stage to cheers as strains of the song “These Boots Are Made for Walking,” Sampson said the Maine House of Representatives was recently notified that a forensic audit of the 2020 election is requested by “we the people.” Her motto, she added, quoting President Ronald Reagan, is “Let’s trust, but verify.”

She went on to say that government has forgotten its role of serving the people:. “They need a civics lesson.”

Protesters at the Arise USA rally July 27 in Belfast. Photo by Fran Gonzalez

Outside in the street across from the Crosby Center, people lined the sidewalk holding placards, banging pots and singing songs. One protester who went by the name “Jay” said he had only become aware of the rally a few days before by word of mouth and that he was “shocked.”

“We have each other’s backs and we don’t agree with this,” he said. “I felt threatened.”

One protester said she was there with people who wanted to respectfully stand as a community opposing the constitutional sheriff recruitment agenda. “I  think it’s not constitutional,” she said.

She said she was also against those people who used the Arise rally as an opportunity to vent anger and encourage confrontation, “demonizing all participants, instead of trying to peacefully open up a conversation that could lead to mutual understanding.”

One rally attendee who did not want to be named said she “absolutely believe(d) in the (Arise USA) movement — it’s long overdue.” She accused the protesters of being uninformed and “very angry.”

Inside the Crosby Center July 27 at the Arise USA rally. Photo by Fran Gonzalez

“It’s very sad,” she said. “The divide-and-conquer mentality is very effective.” She said that is one of the tactics used by the U.S. government, pitting people against each other to move its agenda along. “The government and the elitists are the ones they should be fighting against,” she added.

One protester yelled, “This rally is supporting people that want us dead — anti-Semites. My grandparents were Holocaust survivors.”

Kiril Lozanov, owner of the Crosby Center, said people attending the rally and the protesters outside wanted the same thing — to be protected, safe and free, and there just needs to be a constructive dialogue.

Inside, Lozanov told the crowd he was surprised by the turnout, as he had expected only 20 people to attend. “We got the opposite, which I would like to thank for the publicity,” he said.

Afterward, Steele talked to his giddy fans next to his minivan while posing for photographs. One asked if John F. Kennedy was still alive. “No, I don’t think so,” he said.

filed under: