CHARLOTTE, N.C. – Protesters blocked an intersection near the Democratic National Convention for about two hours on Tuesday, attracting hundreds of police officers, before they were allowed to keep walking toward the heart of Charlotte's central business district.
Two protesters were taken away in handcuffs. While the afternoon demonstrations were tense, they were free of violence or mayhem.
A group of about 50 protesters on an unauthorized march had sat down in the middle of an intersection about five blocks from where the convention is being held. They were surrounded by hundreds of police officers, some in riot gear, and warned to disperse or be arrested.
The impasse was broken after two protesters spoke to Charlotte police chief and said they were told they could continue to walk as a group on public sidewalks. They then continued past the city's convention center, where delegates had been attending some peripheral functions. Official convention events start Tuesday evening at the city's basketball arena.
The demonstrators' stated goal had been to talk to convention delegates, and the two groups came close to each other along the side of the convention center. Some were seen arguing with each other through a line of police officers who were separating them with mountain bikes.
At one point, a group of delegates shouted "Four more years!" The marchers responded: "No more years!"