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Mainers demand school safety in marches all over the state

Each marcher brought a different personal story and mission - but marched together by the thousands across the state.

(NEWS CENTER Maine) - Thousands of Mainers marched on Saturday for the "March for Our Lives," an organized response to the mass murder of 17 people at a high school in Parkland, Florida.

RELATED | Maine students prepare for March for Our Lives

A dozen events were scheduled across the Pine Tree State - from Portland to Eastport.

In Portland, protesters shut down Congress Street, demanding school safety. Each person who marched had an individual story, and individual goals for change - but all marched together in agreement that something needed to be done.

Michelle Pfannenstiel of Cumberland has an incredibly personal connection to gun violence. She's originally from Newtown, Connecticut, and says she was signing her 9-year-old son Zach up for school right around the time of the Sandy Hook shootings. She has friends who lost their kids. "School does not feel like a safe place to me," she said.

"There are those of us who are affected by gun violence in different ways, and one of the ways my family is affected is because kids in my hometown got shot at school." Michelle homeschools her son Zach.

Pfannenstiel and her son were just two of thousands at the Portland rally. It was organized by Judi Richardson, whose daughter Darien was shot and killed by a home intruder in 2010.

In Orono at the University of Maine, dozens of people gathered for the March For Our Lives Rally. About half a dozen members of a conservative political club gathered in a counter-protest. After the rally, the counter-protesters and protesters met together to talk about their opposing views.

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