Demonstrators took to the streets on the final night of the DNC. They spoke out against a number of issues, but primarily against the rise in corporate influence in society and the government, and general dissatisfaction with the government’s direction and lack of effectivity. The protest was peaceful despite tension over arrests earlier in the day and rumors that police were planning arrests for that night.
The march began in Marshall Park, where demonstrators have been camping throughout the week despite a City ordinance prohibiting it. A statute of Martin Luther King Jr. overlooked the campsite.
The demonstrators gathered to coordinate the march shortly before leaving.
The demonstrators were immediately surrounded by hundreds of police officers on bicycles, motorbikes, and on foot.
Police officers followed beside the demonstrators, keeping them confined to one side of the road. In some places, the police narrowed the space for marchers to only a single lane.
John Penley, a Vietnam War veteran who was arrested for crossing a police line on Tuesday, was undeterred and was back on the streets making his voice heard.
While the protest was peaceful, police made a showing of overwhelming force, greatly outnumbering the protesters. Some officers were armed with what appeared to be tear gas launchers.
A masked protester taunted a police officer holding the line at Tryon and Stonewall. The officers remained calm and professional. No arrests were made.
The demonstration was eventually allowed to continue their march up Tryon street.
Officers were also armed with pepperball guns. Essentially, paintball guns that fire projectiles filled with pepper spray.
Some demonstrators wore masks. Protesters were concerned with rumors that law enforcement was using face recognition technology to catalog protesters. Over 500 security cameras had been installed around the city in preparation for the DNC, and police officers were videotaping the protest.
NLG Legal Observers monitored the event for police misconduct. The police also had numerous officer videotaping the protesters.
Several teams of NLG Legal Observers stood watch.
One demonstrator used a laptop and digital protector to project his messages on the side of buildings in massive letters above the crowd.
A group of two or three counter-protesters followed the march. They seemed only to be there to provoke the demonstrators to violence. The demonstrators did not oblige. Some protesters expressed their belief that the counter-protesters were actually police provocateurs. While unlikely, the practice is not unheard of.
At the end of the march, demonstrators burned copies of the presidential oath of office in front of the free speech zone. (Police refused to let protesters actually enter the free speech zone.) The burning was in protest to HR-347, a recent law that First Amendment interpret to outlaw free speech in area under Secret Service protection.
Protesters returned to Marshall Park after the march. This morning, after President Obama departed Charlotte, the protesters were given the order that they must vacate the park. The demonstrators packed their belongings and left peacefully.
This entry was posted on Friday, September 7th, 2012 at 8:35 PM and is filed under DNC/Occupy, Local News. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed.
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Join clinic member Gabrielle Valentine and administrative law clerk Hannah Davies as they discuss Amendment 782 to the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines. Hannah Davies is law clerk to the Honorable Judge Reidinger of the Western District of North Carolina.