Groups Say City's New Rules Violate Free Speech

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CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — Protesters are upset that Charlotte police are using new restrictions to control demonstrations outside two corporate meetings in North Carolina's largest city.

The environmental group Greenpeace and others said Wednesday the protests will be peaceful, and the city is violating its free speech rights.

The city in January adopted an ordinance allowing it to declare public gatherings as extraordinary events. That allows the city to create extraordinary event zones — designated areas where people won't be allowed to carry backpacks and other items.

The measures were adopted in advance of this summer's Democratic National Convention in Charlotte.

City Manager Curt Walton said the city will use restrictions for Duke Energy's and Bank of America's annual shareholders meetings because of protesters.

They'll also use it for Memorial Day and July 4th.

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