CHARLOTTE, N.C. About 300 protesters gathered at an uptown park Sunday morning, gearing up for a pre-Democratic convention march that they’re still hoping will become one of the biggest demonstrations in Charlotte history.
As of 11:30 a.m., it was unclear whether the March on Wall Street South will draw the 2,000 to 10,000 protesters that organizers have predicted.
The protesters asssembled at Frazier Park, northwest of uptown’s center, come from a coalition of more than 90 local and national groups, from Students for a Democratic Society to Veterans for Peace
The marchers will parade past the uptown towers of Bank of America and Wells Fargo that some see as symbols of foreclosures and federal bailouts.
They will stop at the headquarters of Duke Energy, the nation’s largest utility and a target for its use of coal to fuel power plants.
And they’ll pass Bank of America Stadium, where President Barack Obama will accept his renomination Thursday night. Some blame the Obama administration for the tepid economic recovery, others for its immigration policies.
Organizers say the march will be family-friendly and don’t expect violence.
Dozens of protesters joined an encampment of Occupy Charlotte members Saturday at uptown’s Marshall Park. Police monitored the growing crowd but made no move to clear the park.
Their numbers could be boosted Sunday, organizers say, by protesters discouraged by the rain-drenched Republican convention in Tampa last month. While thousands were expected in Florida, only hundreds showed up as Hurricane Isaac swept past.
At a pre-march rally at Frazier Park Sunday morning, protesters spoke out against police brutality and bank foreclosures, among other things.
Behind the podium was a massive banner adorned with the face of Martin Luther King. “Welcome to Charlotte, Wall Street of the South,” the banner read. “People power now! Make the banks pay for their crisis!”
Sunday’s Charlotte forecast calls for a high of 90 with a 40 percent chance of rain.
Protests are expected to continue through the week of the convention, which officially begins Tuesday.
The march is to begin at 1 p.m. and wind east on Trade Street, south on College Street and back to the park by Stonewall and Graham streets. Ely Portillo, Lindsay Ruebens and Cleve R. Wootson Jr. contributed.