Many protesters in Chicago plan to make trip to Charlotte for DNC

by: Erica Bryant Updated:

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CHARLOTTE, N.C. - Chicago police asked CMPD and officers from other cities to help with security for the NATO summit, and in turn, Chicago will send officers to help with the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte.

Eyewitness News anchor Erica Bryant traveled to Chicago with CMPD to find out what the city can expect in September.

Many of the same protesters who were in Chicago plan to make the trip to Charlotte for the DNC.

One of them is 71-year-old Imani Abdullah, a retired government employee. She lives in Atlanta but went to Chicago to protest what she calls a failed government.

“Our leaders that we elect are not doing what we ask,” she said.

And Abdullah said she will do the same in September.

“Without a doubt, we'll be in Charlotte,” she said. “That's the ground floor. That's the opportunity for us to make a difference.”

Leah Bolger, with the group Veterans for Peace, came all the way from Oregon to protest in Chicago. She, too, plans to protest at the DNC, but that's not the only place.

“We will be speaking out against both parties. We will be at the RNC, as well,” Bolger said. “Both parties are beholden to big business.”

Big business, she said, like Bank of America. Charlotte got a taste of organized protests two weeks ago when people converged uptown to demonstrate against the bank.

Bruce Wilkinson said he was in that crowd.

“It's about the power between the Bank of America and the big financial institutions and the parties. And that goes for the Republicans and the Democrats,” he said.

With so many of the protesters saying they've done this before and plan to do it again, Eyewitness News wanted to know how they can afford it.

It turns out that many of them can't, like Dave Stewart, who left his wife and three children behind in New Hampshire to protest the summit.

“I can't (afford to be here),” Stewart said. “I took Thursday off, I took Friday and Saturday off and I took Monday and Tuesday off.  (I) probably will fall a little bit behind on my mortgage, but it's worth it.”

In fact, Abdullah said more and more people think it's worth it, and she said we'll see that firsthand in Charlotte this September.

“This is just a small percentage of the people that are involved,” she said. “It's going to grow. It's got to grow.”

Eyewitness News asked the protesters how they paid their way to Chicago.

A lot of them said they rode for free on buses provided by some of the bigger protest groups. People were bused in from Oregon, California, New York and Washington.

On Monday, Eyewitness News contacted those groups, asking if they plan to bus people to Charlotte to protest the DNC. We're waiting to hear back.

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