Protesters march through Charlotte

Here's a feed from the Post's Ed O'Keefe in Charlotte.

Another Democratic National Convention. Another round of protests in the streets of the host city.

Hundreds of marchers, primarily concerned with economic inequity, lax enforcement of financial regulatory reforms, the fate of illegal immigrants, climate change and talk of new wars in the Middle East, marched through the heart of Charlotte Sunday afternoon, two days before Democrats begin their formal meetings here.

Chanting "Off the sidewalks and into the streets," and waving signs -- in support Trayvon Martin and "the Cuban Five" and opposed to the use of unmanned drones -- the crowd stopped at the front doors of the Bank of America headquarters to air their grievances.

"We don't want a free house, we just want our fair share," one female protester concerned with mortgage rates and the housing crisis told the crowd.

"How ironic that President Obama is going to accept his nomination in the Bank of America auditorium?" another young woman told the crowd.

"I have been given the promise of scholarships and aid," she added, and said she has racked up thousands of dollars in student debt. She said universities had become "tools of corporations."

Others spoke out against BofA's financial support of energy firms that they said they are contributing to climate change.

Up the steeet, protesters made similar declarations under a life-sized replica of a drone that was crafted from cardboard and auto parts by Sandy Fessler of Rochester, N.Y. She joined her fellow marchers in voicing opposition to military operations in Iran.

Other signs along the route included:

"Bail out people not banks!"

"Abortion on Demand and Without Apology"

"No US/NATO War in Syria and Iran"

"Healthcare not Warfare"

"Collective Bargaining is a Human Right"

"I Am Generally Displeased With Our Current State of Affairs"

As they marched, hundreds of locals and visitors stood watching, including many families with young children.

"I don't get it," said one stilettoed woman who attempted to hurriedly walk her dog through the crowd.

Melissa Murray, a 30-year Charlotte resident, said she came with her husband and daughter "to see democracy in action."

"We just saw Ray Suarez of PBS and Bob Schieffer of CBS and more cops than we've ever seen," Murray said with a laugh. "It's not Ohio University in the 1970s or the Vietnam War protests, but it's something."

A heavy police presence with officers primary from the Charlotte Police, North Carolina State Police and the U.S. Secret Service, were joined by officers from Atlanta, Chesterfield, Va. and Hanover County, N.C. Despite the heavy deployment of manpower, there was no noticeable sign of conflict.

One older woman who declined to give her name, from the nearby Dilworth neighborhood, said she walked about a mile with her husband because they were eager to see the action.

"The logistics of pulling this off all week are just enormous," she said.

"Well," her husband said, "they haven't pulled it all off yet."

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Victoria Benning · September 2, 2012