FARMINGTON — Worries that busloads of counterprotesters would show up to disrupt Friday’s Topless March for Gender Equity were unfounded.
The marched lasted less than 15 minutes.
Protesters at the afternoon event were peaceful, including a couple dozen women who stood on the sidewalk, holding hands in prayer as the topless marchers moved along the sidewalk. As marchers passed, the women turned their backs on the demonstration, showing their displeasure with what they called “unacceptable behavior.”
Dovey Balsam, who organized the silent prayer, issued a statement at the demonstration: “We, as Christian women, have come together to pray for the women that are marching. We feel that the display is inappropriate. We feel that a woman’s body is sacred and should be treated with respect.”
No one attempted to interfere with the demonstration along Main Street, which drew a crowd of people taking pictures, including dozens of men, some of who jeered or cheered at the passing women.
Andrea Simoneau, the 22-year-0ld University of Maine at Farmington student who organized the march, said earlier this week that she had hoped the event would be peaceful and protesters would not interfere with their demonstration. Simoneau’s father had also turned out at the event in support of his daughter, according to a report from the march.