Cape Cod Anti-Trump Groups Suspend Protests Amid ‘Safety Concerns’

FALMOUTH – Two local groups opposing President Donald Trump have temporarily shut down weekly rallies amid safety concerns.

The groups consist of mostly older adults with some shades of youth, who claim that the rallies have attracted detractors who confront them with foul language and obscene gestures, and have been apparently stopping their cars to photograph and further yell at protesters.

One of the groups, “Move to Remove,” has been protesting every Saturday morning at the Falmouth Village Green for the past 15 months. The group is co-founded by 76-year-old Paul Rifkin, a longtime activist in the area.

“’Move to Remove’ is focused on trying to get rid of the Trump-Pence Administration because we don’t think we’re going to survive if they remain in charge of things in this country,” said Rifkin.

“So, we’ve been rallying out in Falmouth, also in Sandwich and in Dennis for 62 weeks. We started in the middle of August last year and we’ve always had an interesting response.”

Rifkin says that “Move to Remove” has not disbanded, despite a decline in total turnout in recent weeks, what he attributes to an increase in frightening confrontations with passersby that oppose the group.

Rifkin adds that for the most part, the group has received positive feedback if any at all, as the majority of people simply ignore them.

“A lot of positives, but we’ve also had a slice of negative. The negative is dirty words, yelling out ‘get a job,’ which is particularly ironic because most of the people out there are pretty old and have already done our jobs and stuff. It gets rougher than that when they yell pretty bad words at us and stuff, which is all okay as far as I’m concerned because it’s free speech, it’s protected just as what we’re doing, even though we’re not using the dirty language,” Rifkin explained.

A similar group in the more conservative town of Sandwich has also halted its weekly protests. According to an organizer of the group, protestors experience similar treatment of that as to those in Falmouth.

Rifkin says that the recent increase in threatening confrontations with opposition to his group can be blamed on President Trump.

“Recently, however, it’s gotten more dangerous as the President’s rhetoric has tended toward greater violence, approving of violence, approving of an elected official who body-slammed a reporter by saying ‘ great job,’ and being totally negative toward the press. He’s enabled this underbelly of America, which has been here forever, to express itself in violent ways. So, it’s happened the country with the mailing of pipe bombs and the massacre at the synagogue in Pittsburgh and things like that,” explained Rifkin.

“And we notice it here at the local level where they’re slowing down and they’re stopping now and they’re taking pictures of us. It seems like they want to know who we are, and that’s discomforting to say the least. In Dennis, Sandwich, and Falmouth the groups have all felt scared at different times by what the response has been,” he said.

By TIM DUNN, CapeCod.com News Center

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