The so-called March on Wall Street South organized by Occupy Charlotte was an overwhelmingly peaceful protest Sunday that echoed the motley causes of Occupy Wall Street that are challenging President Barack Obama. Josh Robin filed the following report.
CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- The modest but feisty crowd in Sunday's "March on Wall Street South" in Charlotte, N.C. channeled the scene of New York's Occupy movement for an election-eve lament: that President Barack Obama has sold out his liberal base.
"Obama beware, Zuccotti Park is everywhere," chanted the crowd.
Some said they were reluctant to vote for Obama, while others said the Democrat has become indistinguishable from the other side.
"I hate to say I'm going to vote for the less of two evils, but yes, I'm going to vote for Obama," said Allyson Caison of Code Pink.
"He does not represent the interest of the people, the interest of women. He's dropped drones on innocent children around the world. He's continued Bush's program of rendition," said Sunsara Taylor of the Revolutionary Communist Party.
Some even used an obscenity to call Obama a traitor.
Charlotte is booming as a new center for banking. And the crowd, estimated around 750, stopped at the Bank Of America tower. The president will speak at the Bank Of America Stadium on Thursday.
It is no cause for celebration to activist Rodrigo "Rod Starz" Venegas, who came from the South Bronx with his hip-hop group.
"They gave a bailout to wall street, but right now we're representing the Bronx. The poorest community in the country and we didn't get a bailout," said Rod Starz.
The activists mentioned other issues -- anti-war, abortion rights and immigration -- that are championed by Obama, but apparently without enough fervor.
One particular problem that protesters have with the president is that the Democratic National Convention is held in North Carolina, a state that labor leaders say is hostile to rights of workers to unionize. The state's laws say businesses cannot require their employees to be in a union.
"A lot of workers in general, and a lot of organized workers in particular, feel that they have nowhere to go. And some of them, probably most of them, will sit out the election," said Richard Koritz of the National Association of Letter Carriers.
It all was striking because to many Republicans, Obama might as well be an Occupy demonstrator.
Ray Smith brought his Greer Heights Marching Band to Charlotte to support the causes, not to malign the president.
"He's doing fine if they let him do his job. That's what I think. They won't let him do his job," said Smith.
By the march's end, police said there were one arrest for carrying a concealed weapon, a knife.