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Wednesday, September 5, 2012

A Day of Protests, Spared of Confrontations


CHARLOTTE, N.C. â€" Protesters returned to the streets of Charlotte for a fourth consecutive day on Wednesday, but this time without confrontation or arrests as the Democratic National Convention continued.

A flash mob that grew to 150 to 200 marched in the streets protesting corporate money in politics and the handling of detainees, just as delegates were arriving in the afternoon for the second day of the convention. The group was surrounded by police officers but allowed to march to within about a block of Time Warner Cable Arena, gathering in an intersection for several minutes.

The march eventually moved on without incident.

It was one of several protests during the day, including a gath ering of about two dozen in front of the Duke Energy Center. Protesters planned to give the company's chairman and chief executive, Jim Rogers, a U.S.B. flash drive that included 150,000 signatures asking the corporation to stop supporting the American Legislative Exchange Council, which promotes conservative causes with lawmakers around the nation.

“ALEC is responsible for a host of right-wing backwards bills all over the country that are totally written by corporations like Duke to benefit corporations like Duke,'' said Ben Carroll, part of the Coalition to March on Wall Street South. “There's been in recent months a lot of pressure on a lot of these corporations that are part of ALEC, and leading many of them to leave. So we've got to keep the pressure on.”

A group of undocumented Hispanic immigrants returned for another day of protest after 10 members were arrested on Tuesday when they sat in the middle of an intersection n ear the convention and refused to move.

“There are things that he can do right now that he's not doing,'' Unzueta Carrasco, an undocumented immigrant who was arrested on Tuesday, said of Mr. Obama. “If I'm going to continue believing in him as my president, I need him to take those actions and I need him to take those steps to really support every person in our community.”

If protesters were hoping to generate a following in Charlotte, which has an unemployment rate of 10 percent and saw thousands of layoffs by the banks based here after the 2008 economic collapse, they weren't successful. Charlotte has not historically been a protest town, and apparently that hasn't changed.

“It's not and it's bad manners in the South to protest,'' said Beth Henry, a retired corporate lawyer from Charlotte who was on the streets protesting Duke's contribution to global warning, “and I wouldn't be out here if there wasn't so much at stake.”