Portland Police Chief Frank Clark and other city leaders are asking those expected to take part in a planned protest Saturday to do so peacefully.
The event is being organized by Black Lives Matter Maine, in reponse to the recent shooting of Jacob Blake by police officers in Kenosha, Wisconsin. At a press event Friday, Clark also urged counter protesters who are planning to come to leave their weapons at home.
"And let me be clear - vigilantism is something that's not needed or welcome here in the city of Portland," Clark said. "If your intentions are indeed to help, please let us to the job of protecting this community and its residents."
Clark said the protest has gained traction online, with large numbers of people expected to attend, impeding traffic flow in the area.
Cumberland County District Attorney Jonathan Sahrbeck says that his office will go forward with criminal charges and prosecution of cases in the event that arrests happen at Saturday's protest, which is expected to begin at 4 p.m.
On Aug. 23, a Kenosha police officer shot Jacob Blake seven times in the back, causing severe injuries and igniting protests in several cities. Presidential candidates Donald Trump and Joe Biden both visited Kenosha this week.