AUBURN — The trials of two protesters — charged with criminal trespassing during a demonstration against railroad transportation of crude oil — began Monday morning.

The attorneys for Jessie Dowling of Unity and Douglas Bowen Jr. of Porter argued that the pair, who had linked arms and sat on railroad tracks in downtown Auburn, were not given enough time to comply with police directions to move.

Assistant District Attorney Andrew Matulis insisted that it was a simple case of trespassing and that the pair stayed despite repeated warnings to move.

The trials are being held in tandem at Androscoggin County Superior Court and presided by Justice MaryGay Kennedy. Matulis is prosecuting both trials with two juries, one for each defendant.

During the morning’s opening arguments, only one jury was allowed in the courtroom at a time. Both heard testimony from arresting officer Sgt. Gary Boulet of the Auburn Police Department, and Rick Fowler, an officer with the Boston and Maine Railroad Police Department.

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