Dozens of good-government groups, Occupy Wall Street contingents, environmental activists, struggling homeowners and institutional investors are descending on Charlotte, N.C., to protest Wednesday's Bank of America shareholders' meeting. Occupiers characterize the event as a test run for activism targeting September's Democratic National Convention, and expect thousands of protesters for a full day of marches and theatrics criticizing what they say are the Charlotte-based bank's consumer abuses and political power.
[...]In fact, the arrests have already begun. On Monday, three activists were taken into police custody for carrying a banner criticizing the bank, according to organizers who discussed the matter on a Tuesday call with reporters. The city of Charlotte has authorized a broad array of unconventional police powers for the bank shareholders' meeting on Wednesday. The American Civil Liberties Union has criticized the preemptive crackdown for permitting the arrest of anyone carrying a backpack, purse or briefcase with the intent to conceal anything on a long list of prohibited items, ranging from weapons to markers to bicycle helmets. Those same police powers will be in effect for September's DNC Convention.