About 50 people gathered spontaneously Saturday in Portland to support the people killed and injured while peacefully protesting a white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia.

Marie Follayttar Smith, one of the leaders of Mainers for Accountable Leadership, created a Facebook event for the rally Saturday evening, and within an hour, a small crowd began to gather on the Eastern Promenade. Jennifer Jones of Falmouth, another one of the organizers, said they felt the need to take action after seeing the news of the day’s violence.

“I got home and didn’t want to just sit there,” Jones said. “If we’re silent, we’re allowing this.”

Speakers address the crowd that turned out on the Eastern Prom in Portland to stand in solidarity with the victims of violence in Charlottesville, Va. One person was killed and more than two dozen injured after a car was driven into a crowd on a downtown street. Staff photo by Megan Doyle

The group slowly grew as the sun set. Young people led chants of “No Trump, no KKK, no fascist USA.” Two men held a large canvas painted with the words “Say No To Racism,” and passing cars honked. The participants shared a moment of silence and read a poem. They talked about the need to create a broad network for protests like this one.

“This affects everybody,” said Dylan Smith-Monahan, a 25-year-old from Portland who came to the rally with members of the International Socialist Organization. “We need a unified response to what’s happening.”

Amy Gaidis, 29, of Portland remembered attending her first protest in 2003 – an anti-Ku Klux Klan rally in Lewiston.

“When there are … people marching in the streets with swastikas, we have the responsibility to build a united front against that,” Gaidis said.