About 400 people marched from the Eastern Promenade to the Western Promenade in Portland on Saturday in an event organized to promote volunteerism in the wake of Donald Trump’s election as president.

Many of those who took part in the march used it as an opportunity to protest the Republican nominee’s victory over Democrat Hillary Clinton.

The crowd, which grew as it moved down Congress Street, cheered and chanted, “Not my president” and “Love trumps hate.” They were urged on along their 2½-mile route by honking motorists and clapping pedestrians. Some of the marchers later joined up with another 200 people protesting the Dakota Access Pipeline in North Dakota, where the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe and their supporters have been trying to stop construction of a nearly 1,200-mile-long oil pipeline through tribal lands.

The marchers were organized by volunteers from Hardy Girls Healthy Women, a Waterville nonprofit focused on the health and well-being of women and girls. Organizers said they wanted to help people answer the question “What can I do from here?”

Hardy Girls volunteer Chelsea Ellis of Portland said she was feeling discouraged after the election.

“I was thinking about how I should volunteer more instead of just being sad,” said Ellis.

So Ellis and co-organizer Melissa Kenison said they decided to try to help people learn about organizations with missions of social change. They invited people on Facebook to join them on Saturday for the march from the Eastern to Western proms.

“Because that would be impactful and we pass Planned Parenthood on the way,” said Kenison.

Those who took part said they were there to show their discontent about the divisive political climate and Trump’s election.

Portland residents Lindsay Aouled Ezzine, her husband, Seifallah Aouled Ezzine, a native of Tunisia, and his mother, Beya Aouled Ezzine of Tunisia, all took part in the march. The couple had their 4-month-old daughter, Amira, in a stroller.

“This was a scary election for us, not what I wanted for my daughter and my family,” Lindsay Aouled Ezzine said.

Ruth Charron and Dennis Yesse, a married couple from South Portland, said they were sad and shocked by the election of Trump and wanted to take action. They said they would be writing many letters to U.S. Sens. Susan Collins and Angus King.

“Now is the time to stand up for your principles,” said Yesse.

Marcher Alex Parisi of Portland pushed her son, Wren Disorbo, 2, in a stroller and tried to answer his question about why everyone was shouting: “What do we want? Human rights. When do we want it? Now.”

She told Wren that people just want to be who they are. “But some people want to take those things away,” she said, quickly adding to her son, “but not from you.”

The pipeline protest was organized by the Bates College Environmental Coalition and students Haley Crim, Sophia Thayer and Isabel Pearson Kramer. They said the protest had been planned before the election. But the organizers said they welcomed people unhappy with Trump’s election.

Crim said Trump is an investor in the pipeline and his election added urgency to their protest.

“We feel like we have until January 20th” – Inauguration Day – to stop the pipeline, Crim said.

Saturday’s event followed a protest march and rally against Trump by about 200 people Friday night in Portland’s downtown and Old Port districts.

Beth Quimby can be contacted at 791-6363 or at:

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