LEWISTON — More than 40 people gathered in the rain Thursday morning chanting "This is what democracy looks like" before delivering 1,400 signatures to City Hall asking for Mayor Robert Macdonald to apologize and resign.
The mayor is under fire for a series of remarks aimed at the city's immigrant population, capped with a comment aired on the BBC earlier this month to "leave your culture at the door."
When confronted at a city council meeting Tuesday he said his remarks had been taken out of context and declined to apologize.
The demonstration was organized by the Maine People's Alliance, which said it had gathered about 200 written petition signatures and 1,200 more online.
"Mr. Mayor, this remark was painful, hurtful and displayed your ignorance about our community," said Jama Mohamed, communication director for the Somali Bantu Youth, standing in front of City Hall steps. "You need to own your mistake and to be a responsible leader and accept you made a mistake.
"We want to work with you," he said. "We want to be part of this community. We consider ourselves Lewistonian."
The city has seen thousands of Somali immigrants settle here over the last decade.
When the signatures were delivered to Macdonald's office, City Administrator Ed Barrett said the mayor wasn't in but he would accept them and pass them on.
In remarks later in council chambers, Council President Mark Cayer said he couldn't speak for another person, but, "If I knew I had offended or hurt someone's feelings, I personally would apologize."
For the full story, see tomorrow's Sun Journal.