No protests planned for lake area during DNC
by Staff Writer
While Charlotte will become inundated with more than 70 protest and activist groups during the Democratic National Convention, lake-area towns will most likely stay quiet.
Police and town officials in Cornelius, Huntersville and Davidson say they have received no reports of organized groups planning to protest. Most protesters will probably keep to uptown Charlotte, where all official convention activities will be held, they said.
“We don’t anticipate anything out here,” Cristina Shaul, public information officer for the Town of Davidson, said.
Earlier this summer, Davidson and Huntersville commissioners voted to give their town managers the authority to declare an “extraordinary event” – a large-scale event of national or international significance or one that is expect to draw a large crowd to the area.
The ordinances expand the power of town managers and police officers to restrict behavior. The Town of Davidson could, for instance, require demonstrators to obtain protest permits if President Obama makes a visit to Davidson College. Events must be declared as “extraordinary” in advance.
“This is one of those things where we’d rather have it and not need it than need it and not have it,” Huntersville Deputy Police Chief Michael Kee said in June.
The City of Charlotte required groups wanting to protest along the city-designated parade route during the convention to apply for a permit via lottery. Charlotte provided potential protesters six 40-minute protest slots and 20 half-hour session at a “speaker’s platform” for each day of the convention.
The platform will be located behind the Charlotte Convention Center, at the corner of East Stonewall and South Caldwell streets. Most DNC events, however, will take place at Time Warner Cable Arena.
Emily Cantrell, Charlotte’s DNC permit official, said protest slots have been filled since July. The city also stopped accepting applications to use the speaker’s platform on Aug. 24.
Demonstrators protesting outside of areas blocked off by DNC security will not need a permit, she said. Parks throughout the county will also be open to protesters.
Andy Koche – a member of Raleigh Fight Imperialism Stand Together, which is permitted to protest during the convention – said he finds the location of the parade route and speaker’s platform to infringe on the right to free speech. His organization will be protesting “the control of the banks over our society,” he said, adding that Charlotte is the second largest banking area behind New York City’s Wall Street.
“We’re not allowed anywhere near we would like to be,” Koche said. “In order to effectively protest, we would like to be within sight and sound from where these leaders are making decisions that affect our lives.”
Cantrell said it would be impossible for the city to please everyone, but thought the process was fair.
“I think if they were standing in front of the arena, we would still have people complaining,” she said.
Raleigh FIST will also be one of about 70 organizations joining the Coalition to March on Wall Street South. The City of Charlotte gave the coalition a permit to march Sept. 2, two days before the convention’s start, through a route that includes Bank of America’s world headquarters, Bank of American Stadium, Well’s Fargo’s east coast headquarters and Time Warner Cable Arena.
Mary Snow, a member of Charlotte Atheists and Agnostics which includes members in the Lake Norman region, said the group plans to use the speaker’s platform to “remind politicians and the community at-large that many citizens in this country don’t prescribe to a particular faith.”
Doctors for America – a nationwide organization of 15,000 doctors and medical students who advocate for healthcare reform – will travel to protest at the DNC as part of its “Patients Over Politics” bus tour. The 12-day tour begins at the Republican National Convention in Tampa, Fla., hitting at least 10 cities before ending at the DNC.
Samantha Galing, the organization’s national campaign director, said supporters from the Charlotte area will join in on their Sept. 6 protest.
“We are still gathering a group of about 50 to 100 volunteers,” Galing said. “We’ll have doctors protesting in their white coats. We’re getting doctors to share their experiences in order to help push through healthcare reform.”