Source: Protesters plan to block Panthers game

Police are on high alert for the Carolina Panthers’ home game against the Minnesota Vikings on Sunday in Charlotte after learning that protesters are planning to block entrances to the stadium, according to sources.

A source told ESPN’s Michael Eaves that police got word Saturday night that protesters will gather Sunday morning at Marshall Park, about a mile from Bank of America Stadium, and will march down to the stadium and try to block all of its entrances — even those for the players and officials. Sunday’s game is scheduled to start at 1 p.m. ET.

The news comes after the game was declared an “extraordinary event” by Charlotte interim city manager Ron Kimble on Saturday night. According to the city’s news release, an extraordinary event is defined as a “large-scale event or an event of national or international significance which might attract a significant number of people to a certain geographic area of the city.”

The designation allows the city to “modify its permitting process for activities such as parades and specifies particular items that are prohibited from being brought into certain boundaries of the event.”

There have been both peaceful demonstrations and violent protests in Charlotte every day since Tuesday night, when a black Charlotte police officer shot and killed 43-year-old Keith Lamont Scott, who is also black, in an apartment complex parking lot about 15 minutes from Bank of America Stadium.

The protests moved within a few blocks of the stadium on Wednesday night, turning violent with gunshots, vandalism and police setting off tear gas bombs in an attempt to break up the protesters.

Protests in Charlotte were peaceful on Saturday night, and Panthers president Danny Morrison told ESPN’s Britt McHenry, “We are good to go” for Sunday.

Morrison also explained steps the team took in the offseason to enhance security.

“This offseason, we constructed four new security posts around the stadium to account for people coming onto the property,” Morrison said. “There are now 95 walk-through magnetometers, which will be used in place of the wanding procedure for screening. Additionally, camera coverage and explosive detection canine teams have been enhanced.”

ESPN’s David Newton and The Associated Press contributed to this report.


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