A man believed to be with the occupy movement was arrested near the convention center in Charlotte as the Democratic National Convention began.
Credits: Don Baxter/Media Images International
CHARLOTTE, NC – As the Democratic National Convention (DNC) started so did the rallies and protests. Authorities set aside designated “free speech” zones near the Charlotte Convention Center for organized protests but several groups took their message to the streets instead.
Individuals and organized groups could apply for 30-minute slots in the free-speech zones to voice their cause or concern. Many groups, like DC Vote, used the space and time constraints without incident.
However, 30 minutes seemed to be too constraining for one group known for pushing the limits of their First Amendment rights – and police patience. “Occupiers” took to the street next to the free-speech zone, causing frustration and delays for delegates moving through the area.
The “occupy” movement that started in New York City and spread across the country found its way to the DNC in Charlotte Tuesday, leading to at least one arrest. Several protesters from the occupy movement and “Free Bradley Manning,” took over the intersection of Stonewall and Brevard Street, causing an immediate police response.
As protesters from the various groups sat in the middle of the street, a few hundred police – many on bicycles – closed the intersection. Protesters held signs and banners and stayed in the intersection for about two hours. Although some of the protesters tried to agitate the police, the demonstrations remained uneventful until they left the intersection and marched closer to the convention center.
Police used restraint and allowed the protesters to exercise their First Amendment rights – which included walking along the sidewalk. One unidentified man walked into the street and apparently defied police orders to remain on the sidewalk. He was arrested.
One person who participated in the protest believed the man was part of the occupy movement. However, at the time of this report, it is unknown what the man was charged with or which group he supported.
The majority of the demonstrators were protesting the incarceration of Pfc. Bradley Manning, the 24-year-old Army intelligence analyst who the government accused of providing classified information to the website WikiLeaks.
Occupiers and members from the group Veterans for Peace have set up an encampment at a park a few blocks from the convention center. They plan to be there through the end of the week. More protests are likely as President Obama prepares to accept his party’s nomination Thursday