Democratic Host Committee securing Charlotte parks for convention week

Democratic Host Committee securing Charlotte parks for convention week

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by RAD BERKY / NewsChannel 36 Staff

Bio | Email | Follow: @RadBerkywcnc

WCNC.com

Posted on July 24, 2012 at 10:59 AM

CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- NewsChannel 36 has learned that the Democratic Convention Host Committee is lining up a number of city parks for the week of the convention in September.

The Host Committee has already secured the right of first refusal to use almost all the city's parks, according to a spokesperson, and that could mean limited access or no access for the public during the convention.

"I'm about freedom and liberty," said James Bailey at the Occupy Charlotte encampment at the old city hall.

Bailey and other members of the Occupy group said they believe the Democrats are trying to close off areas for protesters by securing agreements to use the parks.

"They are trying to sweep up the homeless and sweep up the Occupiers and what they don't want is for this to serve as a hub for people to converge on the DNC," said another Occupy member, Keith Erskine.

Marshall Park in uptown has been the scene of a number of demonstrations by various groups over the past year and a half. It is the largest park and the one closest to the Time Warner Cable Arena where the convention will be held.

It could not be determined exactly which parks have been secured by the Host Committee but a spokesperson said the number included most of the parks in the city.

The spokesperson denied this was an attempt to keep protesters out of sight and said park space was being secured to insure that any group that wanted to book a party or event outside would be able to do it.

The Host Committee spokesperson also pointed out that arrangements were started to reserve the parks during the time the city was bidding to win the convention and that was long before the Occupy Charlotte camp was established.

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