Occupy Charlotte protestors want permission for porta-potty - | WBTV Charlotte

Occupy Charlotte protestors want permission for porta-potty

CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - For nearly two weeks now, Occupy Charlotte protestors have been sleeping in tents in uptown Charlotte each night.

They say it's not as uncomfortable as you might think; there's donated food, tents, clothes, and a lot of good conversation.

But there's one major thing missing -- a place to use the bathroom.

The CMPD, which is charged with security for the protest, says the group is not allowed to put portable toilets on the public land they're sleeping on.

The place where the protestors are staying is on the lawn outside Charlotte's Old City Hall.

Protestors say the CMPD has at times been letting them use the bathroom at its headquarters across the street, and other times they use a bathroom a couple blocks away at the uptown transit center.

But late at night, there's really no options.

"Late nights have been kind of rough," said John Wrenn, who has been spending nights at the protest.  "You just try to make sure you go before the transit [center] closes."

Protestors are petitioning the city for permission to put a porta-potty at the Old City Hall, but so far police are not allowing them to.

Some believe the CMPD is making the right call.

Members of the Charlotte Tea Party have protested on the Old City Hall lawn in the past, and they say the city only allowed them to have porta-potties on the property during non-business hours.  They say the porta-potties were placed in a parking lot area and were removed in time.

The conservative Tea Party doesn't think an exception should be made to allow the more left leaning Occupy movement to have toilets 24/7.

"I think in our republic all men are created equal, and I think all organizations as well should be treated equally regardless of their political objective," said Charlotte Tea Party member Matthew Ridenhour.

But Occupy members say there is a reason an exception should be made in their case.

"I think that if you're going to have an occupation -- where people are living here -- then that might warrant the city making a consideration," said Occupy Charlotte protestor Luis Rodriguez.

But Ridenhour says the Occupy Charlotte protestors may already be getting an exception to continue protesting.

"We push homeless people out of those same places if they try to stay there overnight, but we're not going to push out a protesting organization?" he said.  "It's a fine line."

Occupy Charlotte protestors say at this point, they are planning on staying at Old City Hall for a year -- bathroom facilities or not.

"I love it," said Wrenn.  "Especially with the passion that we all have for the things we're out here for."

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