CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - We're getting a more clear picture of how the city will handle protestors during the Democratic National Convention in September. City leaders say their plan is about striking a balance between security and First Amendment rights.
There will be an established parade route and speaker's platform, for which protestors will need permits. The speaker's platform will also have amplification equipment provided by the city.
The permitting process for both venues starts in June. Time slots for groups or individuals will be decided by a random lottery in July. Locations will be announced in late summer.
The timing and process is very important to Occupy Charlotte, which has been working with national groups to organize large protests. However, their planning is limited until the city tells them where protestors will be allowed.
"The city is claiming they are champions of free speech, when in reality, they've made the process quite difficult," said Michael Zytkow, of the Occupy movement.
He said in Denver in 2008, protestors were allowed to begin the permitting process in March of that year. "Here, they're claiming it will be July and that will give us only two months to organize thousands of people," said Zytkow.
Among the issues Occupy plans to focus on: unemployment, foreclosures, and student debt.