AUGUSTA — Several hundred people took to Capitol Park on Tuesday evening to ask Gov. Paul LePage to resign, or at least get the help they said he needs to avoid making more of what they described as racist, threatening and homophobic outbursts.

Prompted by recent controversial statements by LePage in which he suggested most opiate drug dealers in Maine are people of color or Hispanic, and an obscenity-filled voice mail he left for a state legislator from Westbrook, organizers and participants of the Save Our State (from LePage) Rally said the governor should step aside and either resign altogether or get the help they said he needs to control himself.

“Paul, you are our brother, and you need help. Get it,” said Leslie Manning, of Bath, to cheers. “As our governor, you’ve irrevocably broken the compact between us. You must leave. Now.”

Rachel Talbot Ross, president of the Portland chapter of NAACP, said the people of Maine are in pain and need the governor to get help and to step aside. She said she is a ninth-generation Mainer of African-American descent.

“Goodbye, Paul,” she said, which prompted that same chant from the crowd.

Participants, at the conclusion to the rally, joined hands in a circle that extended to nearly all four sides of Capitol Park, in what organizer, lobbyist and Hallowell therapist Betsy Sweet described as a circle of healing. Sweet urged people to write to the Legislature, to LePage and to newspapers to say how they feel about LePage. And if they knew someone struggling with addiction to drugs, or being subjected to racism or homophobia or threats, to reach out to them, and be a kind person. She asked participants to turn to toward the Blaine House, LePage’s residence, which is diagonally across the street from the park, to ask LePage and others in government leadership to come together to do the right thing to save Maine from disaster.

Signs at the rally included those saying “Time to Turn The Page on LePage,” “Insane in the Blaine,” “Showing up for Racial Justice,” “Your Words Hurt People,” “Impeach LePage,” “Resign!” “Enough!” “Impeach the Bully,” and, repeating an obscenity LePage left on a voice mail for Rep. Drew Gattine, D-Westbrook, last week, “Impeach Governor C——–r.”

Rally participants were joined by at least a half-dozen sign-carrying supporters of LePage, one of whom engaged in multiple heated discussions with participants in the rally. Other LePage supporters, such as David Merrill and Connie Smith, both of Farmingdale, didn’t engage in arguments with participants.

“I’m just going to stand here and be peaceful, I’m here to show support for Governor LePage” said Merrill, who wore a T-shirt with “Support Gov. LePage” written on it, and carried a “Trump: Make America Great Again,” banner. “What (LePage) said wasn’t nice. But everyone is human. He deserves to be forgiven.”

Jarody, an Augusta resident who uses only one name, stood adjacent to the rally site, across the street from the Blaine House, with a sign that said “LePage for Pope.”

He said the sign was meant to bring a bit of levity to the moment. However, he also said it was a way to respond to what he described as people’s rhetoric directed at the governor. He said he doesn’t think the people speaking out the loudest about the governor are doing anything about the problem of drug abuse, which is the issue which prompted LePage’s controversial comments.

Deqa Dhalac said she is a black woman, an immigrant, and a Muslim, and said all those identities have been attacked by the governor. She said as the mother of two sons and a daughter, she fears for their lives every day, and LePage’s statements about people of color dealing drugs and being the enemy make it more likely they could be attacked.

Keith Edwards — 621-5647

[email protected]

Twitter: @kedwardskj

Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or to participate in the conversation. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.