Occupy Charlotte Packing Up?
The Occupy Charlotte camp uptown is about to be vacated - so says a member who has helped organize the group. The decision comes after four protesters burned American flags shortly after midnight Thursday morning. WFAE's Greg Collard reports. Deanna St. Aubin-Bridgwood at the Occupy Charlotte camp in November. Deanna St.Aubin-Bridgwood can't speak for everyone with Occupy Charlotte. After all, this is a leaderless movement. But she's been involved since the beginning. She's washed clothes for campers, fed them at her Charlotte home and even helped organize a pro-bono legal team. Still, St.Aubin-Bridgwood says the campsite at Charlotte 's old city hall has been on a downward spiral the last few weeks. Most of the people she respects are gone. "What is left are the detritus - the dregs, basically." She says many newcomers are unfocused, protesting just for the sake of protesting. She says it's become divisive a environment, pitting campers against people like herself who can't camp because they have kids at home or a job. The flag-burning incident was the last straw. "I have no idea why they decided they were going to burn the American flag. Has nothing to do with the Occupy Charlotte movement. Many of us are very upset at that. That's just the antithesis of what we're trying to present to the public. This is why we're having trouble getting people involved because they see people like that and they think it represents the whole movement, and it doesn't." Charlotte-Mecklenburg police arrested four protesters on misdemeanor charges of careless burning. They were near flammable tents and did not have a fire pit. St.Aubin-Bridgwood says she expects most campers to pack up after a meeting this evening, but that a few stragglers will remain. She says the camp site demonstrations are not sustainable, anyway. It's time to organize, St.Aubin-Bridgwood says, so she's scheduled a meeting for January 14 to continue the movement in another form.