Four rows of police wearing two-foot billy clubs surrounded and blocked a group of more than 75 Occupy Wall Street protesters attempting to march from their encampment in a Charlotte, North Carolina, park toward the city’s Convention Center, where delegates to th Democratic Party’s big national gathering held midday meetings and journalists covering it are headquartered.
Some marchers carried a cloth banner that said “Free Pfc. Manning. Whistleblowing is not a crime” It referred to Bradley Manning, the U.S. Army private accused of leaking hundreds of thousands classified military and diplomatic documents to WikiLeaks.
A police helicopter circled above the standoff on Stonewall Street, several blocks from the Time Warner Cable Arena, site of the Democratic National Convention that opens today.
“Both the Democratic Party and the Republican Party are war parties,” said a speaker whose voice was broadcast by a portable loud speaker from inside the police cordon.
“Greed isn’t Green” said another banner that also read, “Earth isn’t for $ale.”
Protestors wearing Barack Obama and Mitt Romney masks embraced and kissed to demonstrate what was called the solidarity of supporters of capitalism.
One protester was arrested for trying to cross police lines, Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Chief Rodney Monroe said.