Citizens march on Maine’s capitol, with placards as varied as their causes and positions

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Sunday, January 22, 2017 - 9:00pm
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Maine is a small state, and when there’s a march at the capitol in Augusta, one is bound to bump into neighbors, shopkeepers from their home towns, and perhaps even people from work. The police anticipated up to 5,000 demonstrators on Jan. 21, when a sister march to the Women’s March in Washington, D.C., was organized. That number was based on the organizers’ own projected numbers, but as the young and old streamed to the capitol lawn, the estimated size of those assembled grew — to 10,000, according to some reports.

Other rallies and marches were underway in Portland, Brunswick, and even Vinalhaven.

In Augusta, it was a peaceful rally and police had few incidents to grapple with; a few tree climbers were asked to descend, there was one report of a bare-chested woman, but that situation was apparently resolved without conflict, and according to one published report, a woman was arrested after she bit a policeman.

There were a variety of speakers, drumming, some chanting, and a packed crowd that was hard to slip through. But it was Maine, and people were polite, calm and smiling. Some took their dogs, others their babies. They carried Dunkin Donuts coffee, water bottles and cellphones. Some dressed in costumes, others simply in their down jackets, Carhartts or Dickies. They wore the pink knitted hats that have become synonymous with the Jan. 21 marches held across the globe, and they wore hunter orange, a unique Maine touch.

It was not too cold, and a few demonstrators sat comfortably in lawn chairs. The causes, and political positions, they demonstrated for were as varied as their faces, and were represented in the signs that held overhead, proudly, and with conviction.