CHARLOTTE, N.C.,None - Charlotte's former mayor says the Occupy Charlotte protesters should not be able to camp out overnight in uptown Charlotte and he's calling on the current mayor to change an ordinance to keep them from doing it.
According to the city's picketing ordinance, protestors need to tell the city when their event will begin and end but only if they're in a group of 50 or more. And around 2:30 p.m. Friday, there were fewer than 50 people at the camp site on Trade Street.
And there is no specific rule against anyone camping overnight.
Protestors said they're committed to staying here. "Maybe a year," protestor Don Faix said. "Whatever it takes."
That timeline worries former Mayor Pat McCrory.
"You're allowed to protest but as far as spending the night on property... you're crossing the line," McCrory said.
McCrory said he thinks city officials need to change that law to make it clear what they will stand for during the Democratic National Convention.
"Come the Democratic Convention, how can you deny them the ability to camp out in front of city hall or behind city hall since we've already allowed that to happen?" he asked.
During a debate between Mayor Anothony Foxx and challenger Scott Stone, both men agreed on one thing about the protests.
"I think it's something that the city's going to need to assess," Foxx said.
"There's going to be some energy spent looking at our ordinances in anticipation of more protest activity," Stone said.
Charlotte Mecklenburg police said under the city's vagrancy laws homeless people would not be allowed to sleep here every night, but for now, these protestors are allowed because they have a specific political cause.
Former mayor wants Occupy protesters pushed out of uptown
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