A small group of Black Lives Matter protesters gathered Sunday evening in downtown Portland, vowing to return in larger numbers to protest racial inequality, police brutality and state-sanctioned violence.

The informal gathering, which took place at Portland City Hall and the Portland police station, came one day after Black Lives Matter Maine canceled a demonstration in downtown Portland to protest the shooting of Jacob Blake, a Black man, seven times in the back by a police officer in Kenosha, Wisconsin, last month. Blake survived the shooting but is paralyzed from the waist down and remains hospitalized with multiple injuries.

Saturday’s demonstration was called off after organizers said they received threats of physical violence on social media. Unwilling to put their members in danger, BLM Maine organizer Hamdia Ahmed expressed frustration that her plans for a peaceful demonstration were thwarted by the threats.

Another organization, the Maine People’s Housing Coalition, stepped up and held a demonstration Saturday that attracted about 100 protesters. They were confronted by a much smaller group of counterprotesters, who stood apart from them and shouted insults. One of the counterprotesters held a Trump 2020 flag that read, “Keep America Great.”

“Don’t let them intimidate you,” Ahmed told the gathering of about 30 people, who marched from the Portland police station to Portland City Hall before dispersing just before 7 p.m. Sunday.

Ahmed reminded the crowed that they have the right to peacefully assemble and protest the shootings of black people by law enforcement. She also called on Portland police to focus their law enforcement efforts on counterprotesters, who she claims came to Portland to incite violence.

One young man who spoke Sunday night on the steps of City Hall urged demonstrators to remain calm and not let themselves be goaded into violence. He said getting BLM protesters to commit acts of violence is the counterprotesters’ chief objective.

As the group marched from the police station to City Hall, members sang the classic spiritual song “This Little Light of Mine.”

ZyAnthony Moss, a BLM activist, warned protesters that they are in the middle of a war to bring about change in the way society views and treats people of color. Moss said he’d like to see “an army” of demonstrators gathering in Portland in the days and weeks ahead.

Moss said he plans to stand on the steps of City Hall on Monday and speak out against racism. He urged people to join him at 5 p.m.

Ahmed also promised to organize another protest on behalf of BLM Maine, but she did not specify when such a protest would take place.

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