PORTLAND – Despite periodic bouts of heavy rain Tuesday, a small group of protesters held their ground in Monument Square.

Nearby businesses don’t seem to mind, and in some cases are benefiting.

Spartan Grill has become OccupyMaine’s “war room,” according to the group’s Facebook page. The link to Facebook was displayed prominently in a window sign, and fliers that read “99% Waaah! Someone Broke My America” were stacked near newspapers. A coffee can was set up near the register to solicit donations.

The restaurant’s owner, Mike Roylos, said he appreciates the protesters’ enthusiasm.

“People are fed up with the status quo,” Roylos said. “This is history in the making.”

The OccupyMaine protest started in Monument Square on Saturday afternoon. It is one of several around the country to spring up in support of the Occupy Wall Street demonstrations in New York, which are protesting economic inequities, the lack of jobs and other issues.

Portland officials received some complaints about the protesters over the weekend, according to city spokeswoman Nicole Clegg.

“Some property owners objected to the tents and that some entranceways had been blocked,” Clegg said.

Authorities ordered the group to remove the tents Monday morning, and city officials suggested they move to Lincoln Park to spend the night, Clegg said.

The group obliged, and Clegg said Tuesday that complaints had stopped.

While a core group of about a half-dozen protesters stayed in Lincoln Park with tents and supplies, others stayed in Monument Square.

Just before noon Tuesday, Demi Colby ducked into the restaurant with her laptop to update OccupyMaine’s Facebook page.

Their followers have doubled since the weekend with more than 2,000 likes.

Colby, a Maine native, came from Washington, D.C., to help launch the first Maine offshoot of the Occupy Wall Street protests. She is confident the group is making an impact.

“I think it’s awesome. It makes me feel good that people are paying attention to what we’re doing,” she said.

And as word spreads, she said, support is growing.

When demonstrators first appeared in the square, David Turin, who owns David’s restaurant, saw the protesters as a nuisance to his business.

“What tends to scratch my itch about (protests) is what’s the line,” Turin said. Freedom of expression shouldn’t interfere with his freedom to run his business, he said.

But when he learned through local media Monday about the group’s mission to stand with national protests against the country’s financial system, Turin changed his mind. He thinks their mission is “fantastic” and praises them for their peaceful protest.

However, Turin criticized the group for relying too much on social media, which engages youth in the community, but leaves middle-aged and older people in the dark.

OccupyMaine plans to continue protesting today, staying out of the way of more than two dozen farmers who participate in the weekly farmers market, Colby said. She said the group will occupy the square and park throughout the week, including during the city’s monthly art walk Friday.

Staff Writer Emma Bouthillette can be contacted at 791-6325 or at: [email protected]