Charlotte Plans Draconian New Rules for Protests in Advance of DNC: No Backpacks Allowed!

 The new rules the city of Charlotte, NC, host to this summer's Democratic National Convention is putting in place to curb protesters is raising the ire of civil liberties advocates. The new ordinances would prevent certain items, most notably backpacks, in designated "zones" near important meetings.

They are doing a dry run-through of new "security" procedures in advance of soon-to-be-held Duke Energy and Bank of America shareholder meetings--both certain to attract vocal dissent.

From the report by, Charlotte:

The American Civil Liberties Union of N.C., however, has been critical of the prohibition on backpacks if police believe they are being used to conceal weapons or prohibited items.
The ACLU believes that gives police wide latitude to search law-abiding citizens and could lead to profiling.
The ACLU is concerned about a scenario in which someone is walking uptown in an area that’s been designated as part of an extraordinary event zone. The person is carrying a backpack near a protest site or perhaps in front of a demonstration.

The police ask to search his backpack and the person refuses. The ACLU has said that could lead to an arrest.

Some of these new rules come in response to successful protests which temporarily shut down Wells Fargo in San Francisco. It will be crucial to watch the city tangle with planned protesters and see how many civil liberties fall victim in the months leading up to the convention.

AlterNet / By Sarah Seltzer

Posted at May 7, 2012, 6:09am

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