The city of Charlotte received only 24 applications for time at a designated speakers platform at the Democratic National Convention, out of a total of 60 slots.
Permit requests to march or protest in the street drew more interest. The city received 15 march requests, and said it will have 18 marches available during the three-day convention, Sept. 4-6.
Expecting a crush of permit requests for the DNC, the city set up a lottery system, believing it was the fairest way to decide who can march or speak at designated city spots.
As it has prepared for the DNC, the city has stressed those arent the only two places that people can protest or picket. The city attorneys office has said the entire city is a free speech zone, and that people can protest on any city sidewalk, so long as it isnt inside a federal security perimeter for DNC sites.
But the parade route will be the only place people will be able to march on city streets.
The speakers platform will be the only place where the city will provide a podium and amplification equipment.
The city hasnt said yet where the speakers platform will be.
At past conventions, such zones have been criticized for being too far from convention sites. At the 2008 DNC, the free-speech zone was shunned by some activists.
The street parade route will begin at an organizing area at Pearl Street Park south of Interstate 277 to Marshall Park. The 1.2-mile route will come within two blocks of Time Warner Cable Arena, the main site for convention activities.
The city said it will allow up to six marches per day, which will begin every 40 minutes between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. Sept. 4-6.
During the convention they have sidelined us out, said Andy Koche of the group Raleigh FIST, which stands for Fight Imperialism, Stand Together.
But Koche said if his group draws enough people to a planned protest on Sept. 4, they will be heard no matter where they are. His group has requested a parade/protest permit and time at the speakers platform.
He said the group isnt only protesting against the Democratic Party, but against the citys banks.
Were opposed to the really huge social weight that banking institutions and large corporations have in society, Koche said. We see imperialism as the drive for profits by banks and corporations leading to war all over the world.
Meanwhile, up to 20 speakers will be scheduled during 30-minute time slots each day during the convention.
The lottery will be held Monday.
The deadline for permit applications was Wednesday. City Attorney Bob Hagemann said since there will still be spots remaining for the speakers platform, it will designate a new way to distribute more permits leading up to the convention.
The city expects thousands of protesters to converge on Charlotte, just as they have done for past political conventions. The city is bracing for some violent protesters, many of whom are unlikely to follow the citys plan to issue protest/parade permits.