Mayday Mayday Mayday

May 1st has been a busy day for Occupy Charlotte. Protesters have organized a sit in on the people’s lawn in Uptown Charlotte.

The following text was taken from Occupy Charlotte’s web site.

It’s our MAY DAY GENERAL STRIKE!! — Show the corporations and the elites that we may not run the country but we make the country run! If you are able, don’t work, don’t go to school, don’t buy anything… DO spend time with friends and family on the People’s Lawn!

When I was there earlier today there were a dozen or so people in attendance. The Occupiers were in high spirits. A few cars honked their horns in support of the protesters as they drove down East Trade St.

Much like Craig Glisson who I interviewed in my last post It’s like watching the Sopranos other members of Occupy Charlotte were very much aware of the activities of the corporations in their city, namely Bank of America, Wells Fargo, and Duke Energy.

Demonstrations are scheduled this week dealing with Duke Energy and Bank of America.

On Thursday, May 3, 8:00 AM Occupy Charlotte will protest the Duke Energy shareholders meeting. Occupiers are unhappy with the utility companies use of nuclear power and coal which they cite as dangerous energy.

According to the Blue Ridge Environmental Defense League Duke Energy has seven coal-fired electric power plants in North Carolina. Burning coal has enormous environmental impacts. The Union of Concerned Scientists puts it like this

Burning coal is a leading cause of smog, acid rain, global warming, and air toxics. In an average year, a typical coal plant generates:

    3,700,000 tons of carbon dioxide (CO2), the primary human cause of global warming–as much carbon dioxide as cutting down 161 million trees.

    10,000 tons of sulfur dioxide (SO2), which causes acid rain that damages forests, lakes, and buildings, and forms small airborne particles that can penetrate deep into lungs.

    500 tons of small airborne particles, which can cause chronic bronchitis, aggravated asthma, and premature death, as well as haze obstructing visibility.

    10,200 tons of nitrogen oxide (NOx), as much as would be emitted by half a million late-model cars. NOx leads to formation of ozone (smog) which inflames the lungs, burning through lung tissue making people more susceptible to respiratory illness.

    720 tons of carbon monoxide (CO), which causes headaches and place additional stress on people with heart disease.

    220 tons of hydrocarbons, volatile organic compounds (VOC), which form ozone.

    170 pounds of mercury, where just 1/70th of a teaspoon deposited on a 25-acre lake can make the fish unsafe to eat.

    225 pounds of arsenic, which will cause cancer in one out of 100 people who drink water containing 50 parts per billion.

    114 pounds of lead, 4 pounds of cadmium, other toxic heavy metals, and trace amounts of uranium.

Making matters worse Duke Energy is poised to acquire Progress Energy. If this were to happen Duke Energy would have the largest energy monopoly in the nation further enhancing their ability to gouge their customers with rate hikes.

On Wednesday, May 9, 8:00 AM Occupy Charlotte will be marching on the Bank of America shareholders meeting. Recently the upcoming event has been grabbing national attention.

The group 99% Power has sent Bank of America CEO, Brian Moynihan a strongly worded letter asking for him to meet with them by this Friday. The letter states

It is incumbent on you to ensure that legitimate stakeholders in your company have a seat and that your company does not engage in the same exclusionary practices as Wells Fargo. We want to meet with you by May 4 to confirm that all proxies and shareholders will be seated and present in your annual shareholder meeting.

99% power is concerned that the shareholders meeting will turn out like the Wells Fargo meeting in April where several shareholders were denied entry.

The city of Charlotte has declared both shareholder meetings “extraordinary events”.

According to the CMDP

The City of Charlotte, ordained by the City Council of Charlotte, North Carolina, has amended Chapter 15 – Offenses and Miscellaneous Provisions to include a new Sections 15-26, 15-27, 15-28, 15-29, 15-30 and 15-31 to prohibit camping, obstructions, possession/dispersal of noxious substances and other activities on public property, roadways and public right of way.

The new ordinance bans the possession of the following items during an extraordinary event :a bar, chain, shaft, staff, cable, wire, lumber, aerosol container, spray gun, spray paint, liquid paint or marker, etching materials, backpacks, duffel bag, satchel, coolers, a glass container, knives, hammer, crow bar,pepper spray, mace, body armor, shield, helmet, protective pads, gas masks, police scanners, masks, rocks, bottles, objects (the ordinance actually bans possession of objects), bricks, animals, fireworks, smoke bombs, sparklers, stink bombs, and missile weapons.

The ordinance can be found here.

According to the Charlotte Observer

Charlotte City Attorney Bob Hagemann said Monday that ordinary citizens, or people protesting lawfully, do not have to be worried.

This is not the first fishy thing that the CMPD has done since I’ve been in Charlotte. In the article CMPD aka Charlotte’s secret police I lambasted the department for concealing their budget in violation of North Carolina law.

At first glance this vote appears to be innocuous. Unfortunately this is not the case. The city is slated to spend $25 million on equipment in preparation for the DNC. What exactly are they planning to buy no one knows. These purchases are not going to face a public vote.

I will be in Uptown Charlotte for both events, however in light of my mistrust of the CMPD I will be keeping one eye over my shoulder.

Photos courtesy of Cannie Osborne.

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