Impressions of the March on Wall Street South



It felt more like a parade than a march. A preppy teenager held a sign that read, “I am generally displeased with our current state of affairs.” That’s a pretty fair summary of the mood of the so-called March on Wall Street South.

Police estimate that there about 800 protesters. They were protesting, um, everything, as you can see from the photos and videos. It was hot. Water bottles were passed freely among protesters and among police officers. Many officers were wearing backpacks full of water with tubes in easy hydration distance.

The show of force from police was impressive. There were cops on foot, bicycles, motorbikes, carts. Chief Rodney Monroe and Major Jeff Estes kept tabs on things. Along the entire route, police officers separated the marchers from the onlookers, and there were plenty of the latter. Parents brought kids to witness civil disobedience. The media, with nothing else to cover at noon on a Sunday, three days before the start of the actual convention, turned out en masse. And they all had cell phones. Man, were there a lot of cell phones.

As the march swung past the Convention Center, CRVA CEO Tom Murray, the man who runs the Convention Center, stepped outside to watch. He stayed in the shade.

The marchers paused in front of key landmarks, such as the Bank of America Corporate Center and the Duke Energy tower. At the latter, a series of speakers took a megaphone to deliver remarkably lucid commentary on all things environmental. “If you have not yet faced the terrifying truth about our climate,” one said, “wake up.”

A few feet away, a woman sat in her idling car, watching. She emerged once to deliver refreshments to one of the marchers, then quickly sought out the air-conditioned sedan, seemingly oblivious to the irony. On the street, another suburned woman pushed a baby stroller full of provisions. A sweaty twentysomething man stopped by for a sunscreen spritz. Down the street, a cop, in a moment of lockerrom-style bravado, asked his colleagues, “Is it all right if I teabag everyone coming through?” Two things: 1) I don’t think he knows what it means to “teabag” someone. 2) His colleagues ignored him. Not even a polite smile.

Further down the sidewalk, a woman in a yellow shirt with a blue umbrella ambled along the sidewalk. Behind her, patiently pedaling as slowly as they possibly could, a phalanx of cops on bicycles.

As the marchers moved past Bank of America Stadium, Michael Zytkow of Occupy Charlotte pointed out the large blue-and-red logo. “Break up Bank of America!” they chanted. And variations on that theme.

Ahead of the marchers, Chief Rodney Monroe kept an eye on things. He instructed a thin blue line to let a jogger through. He bumped fists with a protester wearing shirt bearing Fidel Castro’s likeness and name. He seemed calm. All was well. Democracy was in action, albeit gently.


Categories: The DNC In The CLT