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10 protesters arrested on DNC’s last day

Demonstrators march through uptown Charlotte for the third night

By Cleve Wootson, Ames Alexanderand Meghan Cooke
cwootson@charlotteobserver.com

CHARLOTTE, N.C. A week of protests that began with a march by 800 people before the start of the Democratic National Convention ended with 10 more arrests on its final day.

Six protesters were arrested Thursday afternoon after locking arms and sitting down at an intersection next to the uptown Duke Energy Center, which became a favorite target for political and environmental reasons. Police arrested four more protesters after other incidents.

For a third straight night, protesters streamed out of uptown Charlotte’s Marshall Park late Thursday and into standoffs with police.

“I hope this is the last one,” Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Chief Rodney Monroe said soon after the march began. It ended after nearly three hours at 10:15 p.m. with no arrests or violence.

A few blocks from Time Warner Cable Arena, where President Obama accepted his nomination to a second term, the protesters had sat down, chanting, in the intersection of Trade and Tryon.

“We’re here to send a message to Obama and Romney that enough is enough,” Occupy Charlotte organizer Michael Zytkow said.

A brass band standing on a street corner responded with an impromptu tune that drowned out the anti-Obama chants.

The marchers later walked back down Stonewall to the speaker’s platform across from the NASCAR Hall of Fame. There some burned two small pieces of paper – copies of the presidential oath of office.

Earlier Thursday, demonstrators at Stonewall and Tryon streets demanded an audience with CEO Jim Rogers of Duke Energy, which they say has harmed the environment.

With about 30 standing police officers watching them from nearby, the protesters sat atop a massive banner: “Duke is destroying our Earth with taxpayer dollars.”

Police gave the protesters a 10-minute warning to leave the intersection or be arrested for impeding traffic. They didn’t budge. Minutes later, when police unlinked their arms, the protesters went limp, forcing police to carry them by the arms and legs to a transport van.

Just before her arrest, Christina Mounce, 26, of Casper, W.Va., criticized the utility company for burning coal and running nuclear plants.

“We want President Obama to stop accepting their campaign money,” said Mounce, a marine biologist. “The president is setting a horrible example by being linked with them.”

Also arrested: Amelia Campbell, 22, of Boulder, Colo.; Audrey Campbell, 22, of Boulder, Colo.; Richard French, 39, of Farmington, N.M.; Matthew Goodsell, 56; and Michael Joseph Stewart, 25, of Lakewood, Colo.

Duke, in response, says it has shut down 23 coal-fired power units in the past two years and spent $7 billion in recent years to build four power plants that feature some of the world’s most advanced pollution controls.

Pelosi interrupted

Elsewhere Thursday, a normally staid political discussion during Politico’s convention breakfast series was twice interrupted by protesters during House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi’s appearance.

The first protester, a woman, shouted out a question on Middle East issues.

A few minutes later, as Pelosi was leaving the stage at Packard Place on Church Street, several anti-war protesters unfurled a pink banner and began shouting before they were escorted out.

Thursday afternoon, a group of demonstrators with the anti-war group Code Pink hung a 25-foot- tall pink banner from a parking garage at Third and College streets with the words, “Yes we can end war.”

Charlotte-Mecklenburg police arrested Allison Delores McCracken, 23, of Washington.

Charlotte-Mecklenburg police said they arrested three people during a demonstration on West Trade Street: Kyle Pugh, 25, of Philadelphia; Taylor Gunsauley, 23, of Louisville, Ky.; and a third person who was not identified.

Ely Portillo, Caroline McMillan, Adam Bell, Gavin Off, Gary L. Wright and Bruce Henderson contributed.

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