Activists have gathered in the financial district of Charlotte, North Carolina, to protest what they say is the “corporate takeover” of the political system in the United States.
Demonstrators began gathering in Charlotte’s Frazier Park on Sunday. The gathering comes days ahead of Tuesday’s Democratic National Convetion, to be held in the city’s Time Warner Centre.
The march, planned to coincide with the convention, will begin in Frazier Park before moving on to the Bank of America building headquarters, heading past the Time Warner Centre – where the convention itself will be held – before finally ending up outside the building of one of the US’ largest energy providers.
Al Jazeera’s Rob Reynolds, reporting from Frazier Park, said that a variety of protesters were present at the demonstration. They are demanding reforms in everything from the financial system to the nation’s immigration policies, he said.
Speaking to Al Jazeera from Frazier Park, David Johnson, who is among the six million in the the US facing foreclosure on his home, said though President Barack Obama had set up programmes to counteract the economic downturn, they had not been followed through with and “the banks basically did what they wanted to do”.
Though our correspondent says the particularly hot weather may have kept the crowds from gathering on Sunday, law enforcement and officials in North Carolina say they are prepared if several thousands protesters show up as activists
Organisers expect those participating to include some members who were involved in much smaller protests last week in Tampa, during the convention where Republicans nominated Mitt Romney for the US presidency.
North Carolina’s largest city set up a designated parade route and speakers platform as “free speech” areas for activists to express their opinions during the Democratic convention.
The city hosted a lottery to assign time slots for speaking and marches.
The range of protest issues is broad, with activists expected to travel from across North Carolina and other states
to push for fewer restrictions on marijuana, separation of church and state, marriage and religious liberties, and causes
affecting senior citizens and immigrants.
Ben Carroll, a volunteer organiser, said the designated parade route was “a tour of parking lots and abandoned lots”.
Carroll said the route, including a speaker’s platform about one kilometre from the Time Warner Arena, makes it “difficult or impossible for bankers or any [Democratic] delegates to actually hear the complaints”.