Well, for DC self-government advocates looking to make a splash at the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, NC, this week, today’s budget autonomy rally was a wash.
DC Mayor Vincent Gray and US House Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton were barred from attending the rally after police shut down a section of downtown Charlotte in response to an Occupy Wall Street demonstration.
From the Washington City Paper:
A massive police shutdown outside the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, N.C., meant that Mayor Vince Gray and Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton were unable to speak at a pro-D.C. budget autonomy rally today, according to D.C. Vote spokesman James Jones.
Gray and Norton were supposed to be the headlining speakers at today’s rally, which Jones says was held at a designated “free speech zone” near the convention. But those plans went awry after a small army of police responded to a couple dozen Occupy protestors who occupied an intersection nearby.
“It was locked down, totally locked down,” Jones says of the area around where the pro-D.C. rally took place. He says the police presence prevented would-be rallygoers, including the mayor and Norton, from getting to the rally in time. The mayor eventually showed up, Jones says, but apparently not in time to give a speech.
The budget autonomy rally that wasn’t was the second setback of the day for DC rights advocates. The Democratic Party rolled out its 2012 platform on Monday morning, and, as expected, it included no reference to DC statehood.
Mayor Gray will press on with the District’s case the rest of this week, but, if Monday was any indication, he has a tough slog ahead of him in Charlotte.