In overnight developments related to the DNC, the Charlotte Observer’s Cleve Wootson reports that Occupy Charlotte – which used to be based on the grounds of Old City Hall until the city beefed up anti-camping ordinances earlier this year, effectively ending the camping – is back in business and has set up camp at Marshall Park uptown:
CHARLOTTE, N.C. Occupy Charlotte protesters reopened their uptown encampment late Friday night at Marshall Park, a site where they expect hundreds to camp, demonstrate and sleep during the Democratic National Convention.
And protesters said they have invited other protest groups to share the park space, including demonstrators who set up the “Romneyville” encampment near the site of the Republican National Convention in Tampa.
Occupy Charlotte organizers say they have talked with Charlotte-Mecklenburg police leaders, who they said would allow the demonstrators to camp at Marshall Park throughout the convention. Buses containing as many as 100 people were expected to arrive by early Saturday morning, though protesters said there could be many more by the end of the weekend.
“There’s been some conversation with the city,” said Scottie Wingfield, an organizer with Occupy Charlotte. “We said we wanted to be in a public space. This is traditionally a park where people have met to protest.”
Charlotte-Mecklenburg police could not be reached for comment early Saturday.
At Marshall Park, an information tent and a smaller tent had already been set up early Saturday. Several police cars were stationed around the park around 2 a.m. An officer stood outside one, peering at the encampment through a pair of binoculars.
Last Fall, Occupy Charlotte protesters opened a camp in uptown Charlotte on the grounds of old city hall. It was broken up in January, when the Charlotte city council voted to ban outdoor camping on public property.
There are already demands being made for tents and other “occupy” supplies:
— ApologizeToCharlotte (@ApologizeToCLT) September 1, 2012
Once more of the local media get wind of this, I will be very interested in reading what CMPD has to say about Wingfield’s assertion that there were talks between the “occupiers” and the city and police to get permission (presumably without a permit) to set up camp. “March on Wall Street South” is predicted to bring between 5,000 to 10,000 protesters to the Queen City (Charlotte) for a march Sunday that will begin at Frazier Park uptown, the “base” of the march. At least one OWS activist confirmed with the Observer earlier this week that demonstrators would attempt to set up tents to sleep in and occupy Frazier Park.
If it’s true and the police gave protesters permission to set up camp at Marshall Park (photo), it makes you wonder why the Democrat-countrolled city council bothered at all earlier this year to strengthen existing anti-camping ordinances to essentially prevent camping on all public property – in advance of the Democrat National Convention in Charlotte. It also makes you wonder if they’ll be inclined to allow activists to do the same at Frazier Park. First and foremost are the public health/safety issues involved. Will Black Bloc types be instigating violence? What about sanitation (which turned out to be a huge issue with Occupy Charlotte)?
I’ll update this post with more information once (if) the police go on the record about whether or not they gave permission to set up a tent city. Stay tuned.