PORTLAND — About 20 people gathered this afternoon in Monument Square to protest high student debt during a demonstration organized by Occupy Maine.

U.S. student debt topped $1 trillion late last year, exceeding the nation’s credit card debt, according to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

The average American college student owes $25,000 in school loans, according to President Obama, who is pushing Congress to block a pending increase in interest on federal student loans.