CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- It's getting harder to Occupy Charlotte.
The temperature is dropping. Some protesters have gone back to work or college. And on Sunday afternoon, some Panthers fans leaving Bank of America Stadium weren't in solidarity with the movement, to put it mildly.
"Get a job, (expletive)!" a jersey-clad fan shouted from his jeep as it drove by on East Trade Street.
But the protesters camped on the grounds of City Hall said they will not leave.
Their numbers may fluctuate, but they said they are determined to keep protesting what they believe is the undue influence of corporations and the top 1 percent on American society.
"Being in the tents isn't so hard at night, because we have blankets," said Josh Paladino, a Charlottean and Hopewell High graduate who has occupied for five weeks. "But I did security last night until 4 a.m. It was freezing."
Paladino continued: "We are all working the best we can. We dwindled a little bit, but we are getting our numbers back."
The Occupy movement nationwide has been marked by tensions with cities and, in some cases, violence during clashes with police, as happened in Oakland, Calif.
In Charlotte, the 6-week-old movement has been mostly benign. The Charlotte protest was 3 weeks old before police made the first two arrests, for standing in the middle of the street and blocking traffic.
A makeshift kitchen is set up on the grass by the Trade Street entrance to City Hall. There are still signs, with slogans such as "Abolish Mental Slavery" and "Who owns your politician?" and "We are the 99 percent."
The number of tents appears the same as when the movement began.
But there is no census to determine who lives inside them. On Sunday afternoon, tents were pushed around by the wind, their inhabitants nowhere near. The weather was cold.
"It tests you," said protester Holly Lasher. "You realize who is here for the cause and who was here because they had nothing better to do."
Lasher, a Butler High graduate, said she has occupied for three weeks. When she started, she protested only on the weekends. But since she lost her job, she said, "I occupy 24/7."
James Davis, originally from Brooklyn, N.Y., spent time at the Occupy Wall Street protest that spawned Occupy Charlotte and other movements. He said the protesters are sticking it out.
"Yeah, there are times it gets cold," said Davis, with Occupy Charlotte for three weeks. "But people are bringing us blankets and hand warmers. The camaraderie has grown."
Davis said the group's ultimate goal is to stay as long as it takes to stem "corporations using money to control politics."
A short-term goal is to stay through the Democratic National Convention in September, which will be held a few blocks away at Time Warner Cable Arena.
Davis said Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police and the city have been helpful so far, despite the city turning down their request in October for a portable bathroom. He said they try to move their tents to not kill the grass.
But that good will may be tested. With the DNC coming, the CMPD drafted an ordinance that would prohibit camping on city property, as well as the building of structures like the Occupy Charlotte kitchen.
The space in front of City Hall is a "public forum" with no ordinance addressing what can be done there.
There is no timetable for the City Council to discuss the proposed ordinance. It's also unclear whether Occupy Charlotte would be grandfathered in or whether the ordinance, if passed, would prompt an eviction.
Mayor Anthony Foxx, a Democrat, has said he wants advice on the city's legal position if the ordinance would affect the protesters already there.
Davis said he believes Occupy Charlotte will be allowed to stay. "The ordinance won't change our movement," he said.