AUGUSTA — Hundreds of marchers and protesters are expected to return to Augusta on Saturday to mark the first anniversary of the Women’s March on Maine rally organized in the wake of the election of President Donald Trump to promote women’s rights and other issues.

Maine’s Women March 2.0: Power to the Polls, organizers said in a news release, is expected to promote increasing the number of women, minorities and progressives elected to public office starting in 2018.

The event is scheduled to start at 11 a.m. at the State House. Marchers will make a circuit around Capitol Park and return to the State House.

Speakers scheduled to appear include, among others, Maine House Speaker Sara Gideon; Sen. Shenna Bellows, D-Manchester; attorney and author Sherri Mitchell; June Sapiel; Fatuma Hussein, of United Somali Women of Maine; and Emily Cain, executive director of Emily’s List, a national organization that recruits women to run for elective office.

Similar events have been organized for Bangor, Gouldsboro and Bar Harbor.

Jennifer Jones, one of the organizers, estimated that several thousand people are expected to take part. As of Friday afternoon, about 4,200 people indicated they were interested in the event or planning to attend it on the march’s online event page.

“Most are not on Facebook,” she said via email. “I am bringing six, but only I signed up. I think it will be like that a lot.”

Capitol Police Chief Russell Gauvin said he’s not sure how many people are likely to attend. Generally, if 1,000 people say they will attend on a site like Facebook, 800 actually might show up, he said.

At last year’s Women’s March rally, the opposite was true. Twice as many people showed up as indicated an interest, he noted.

This year, there has not been the same level of promotion and attention, so Gauvin expects a smaller crowd. He’s also not expecting any counterprotests or conflict.

Because the event is on state property, weapons are prohibited. That was not a problem last year, and he doesn’t expect it to be a problem this year, either, he said.

“State government buildings are closed, so there should be plenty of parking,” he said.

The event is being sponsored by March Forth Maine, Suit Up Maine, Capital Area Indivisible, Central Maine Resists, the Maine Democratic Party and the Planned Parenthood Maine Action Fund, among others.

Organizers have set up a GoFundMe crowdfunding campaign to raise $5,500 to pay for event expenses such as permit fees, rental of portable bathrooms, insurance, signs, a sound system, staging, and travel costs for speakers and performers. As of Thursday afternoon, donations had exceeded that goal.

Organizers plan to have an American Sign Language interpreter and to make four wheelchairs available.

Events last year in Augusta and Portland drew thousands of people who could not travel to Washington, D.C., for the national event or who chose to protest closer to home.

Jones, of Falmouth, is one of the organizers of the Augusta march. Following a trip to Washington D.C., for the national march, she and other marchers organized March Forth Maine. “We have been active ever since, working to educate the community on how to be effectively engaged in a democracy through our use of social media, workshops, films, rallies, meetings and marches,” Jones said.

Participants are asked to park in the Capitol parking lots or in state government parking lots in the neighborhood, but not in the lot used by patrons of the Maine State Library and the Maine State Museum.

Jessica Lowell — 621-5632

[email protected]

Twitter: @JLowellKJ


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