CHARLOTTE -- The American Civil Liberties Union is voicing concerns about protests during the upcoming Democratic National Convention. Monday night, the organization hosted a webinar about peaceful protests.
The city has provided a parade route for protestors during the DNC. That route starts on the edge of uptown and will end at Marshall Park in uptown.
Still, protestors ending there will be about two blocks away from Time Warner Cable Arena, where the action will be taking place.
The DNC has been deemed an extraordinary event by the city, thus limiting protestors as to what they can carry, and giving Charlotte-Mecklenburg police officers special powers. The city has been training officers to focus on criminal behavior by protestors.
With that being said, Monday night, the ACLU hosted the webinar about peaceful protests to let people know their rights during the DNC. They say a parade route and speakers platform, such as the ones we'll see here in Charlotte in two weeks, have been used in past conventions. They say they want people to know they have a right to peaceful protests but that the government can add some restrictions and it's those expanded powers that have the ACLU worried.
"Our concern here is this could lead to standardless searches, it could lead to profiling, and it's really impossible to define whether you're carrying a backpack because you're heading to work, or whether you're carrying a backpack because you have the intent to conceal weapons," said Chris Brook, the legal director for the ACLU in North Carolina.
The ACLU also reminded protestors during this webinar that they do have the right to take pictures and video, but they cannot interfere physically with police officers.