[Marxism] Occupy ATL--Some local media
gregmc59 at gmail.com
Wed Oct 12 02:39:02 MDT 2011
Although the occupation in the ATL is small, it has generated much
discussion in the Atlanta area. So far the city is taking a mildly
schizophrenic hands-off approach to the folks occupying the park.
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ATLANTA -- The Police Department and Mayor's Office appear to be
taking a hands-off approach to the dozens of protesters encamped in
Woodruff Park in downtown Atlanta, even after the group led a noisy
demonstration outside the Bank of America Building.
Outfitted with signs, make-shift drums and several chants, more than
50 people marched to the Bank of America building Tuesday afternoon.
One protestor said they chose the building because it is a local
representation of their national message: speaking out against big
banks and other corporations.
During their mile-long walk up Peachtree Street, many cars honked and
waved, while police officers were stationed in several spots along the
Meanwhile, Mayor Kasim Reed said he understands the protestors' frustration.
"I think that people wanted focus and attention and passion on jobs,
and I think that the group Occupy Wall Street really is the other end
of the spectrum," he said.
Speaking before an audience Monday night during Chicago Ideas Week,
the mayor went on to say that despite the possibility of bad press
surrounding the group's stint in Woodruff Park, he believes they are
bringing much-needed energy.
"I'm really ok with it because I think the country needs more passion
and it needs a big fight."
By early evening, the group had returned to the park. It remains
unclear how long they will be allowed to stay there; Woodruff Park
closes at 11pm and overnight tenting is not allowed. Atlanta police
were poised to shut down the Occupy Atlanta demonstrations Monday
night, but appeared to rethink the decision allowing protestors to
remain for yet another night.
Police stationed several dozen officers two blocks from the park,
which has been the epicenter of a grassroots protest against Wall
Street and the country's banking system.
The mayor's office said the protestors will be given a chance to leave
peacefully, but did not say how long or if the city would take action.
The demonstration, like many across the country, is an outgrowth of
the Occupy Wall Street movement that began four weeks ago in New York.
The gatherings have drawn criticism from some, including U.S. House
Majority Leader Eric Cantor who called them "mobs." While most of the
protests have been peaceful, some have been marred by scuffles with
The rallies have also drawn praise from experienced organizers
including union leaders and long-time activists. Despite a snub over
the weekend, U.S. Rep. John Lewis (D-Ga.) has said "their activism is
Occupy Atlanta | City takes hands-off approach to protests
By Christian Boone and Jeremiah McWilliams
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Like chess players, Atlanta city officials and the protesters
occupying Woodruff Park continued their strategic dance Tuesday, with
at least one eye on the national Occupy Wall Street movement.
Curtis Compton, ccompton at ajc.com A group of more than 100 calling
themselves Occupy Atlanta protesters set up a barricade around their
tent city as they gathered in Woodruff Park in Atlanta on Monday, Oct.
Police maintained only a low-key presence, both at the park and during
a late afternoon march to the Midtown offices of the Bank of America,
which drew about 50 people from the park and perhaps 100 who joined en
route. By 5:30 p.m., the marchers had dispersed, with some heading
back to the park trailed by about six police officers on motorcycles.
Meanwhile, Mayor Kasim Reed told members of the City Council’s public
safety committee that, while the city wants to respect the
demonstrators’ right to express their views, they cannot be allowed to
camp in the park indefinitely.
“This has got to got to come to a close at some point,” Reed said. “At
some point, we have to act.”
Reed said the group calling itself Occupy Atlanta is damaging the
public park and violating Atlanta’s laws, and to ignore it opens the
door to more law-breaking in the future.
“I do worry that we are setting precedents,” Reed said. Giving
exemptions to the law “is creating a real problem for us.”
Committee chair Ivory Lee Young Jr. said he appreciated Reed’s
concerns, but he suggested that arresting protesters might be unwise.
“Arrests, at this point, don’t serve any of our purposes,” he told
Reed during the meeting.
Reed said his staff had conducted a detailed review of how other
cities had dealt with the Occupy Wall Street offshoots, and would be
ready to brief the City Council on Wednesday.
Boston police made national headlines Tuesday morning by arresting
more than 100 protesters who were attempting to expand their
encampment from a park to an adjacent roadway greenbelt. Video showed
black-clad officers hauling away protesters who chanted, “We are
veterans of the United States of America!” An American flag that had
apparently been knocked from the hands of one protester lay on the
ground as those nearby chanted, “Shame, shame, shame!”
In Atlanta, meanwhile, a spokesman for Reed said the city will not
immediately try to break up the protesters’ encampment, which on
Tuesday afternoon numbered about 30 tents. “As long as they’re there
peacefully, for the time time being, we’re going to allow them to
stay,” said Reese McCranie, the mayor’s deputy director of
communications. “That may change in the future or may not change.”
One camper applauded the decision. “I think it’s great,” said Phil
Aliff, 25, a student at Kennesaw State University. “I hope they let us
stay here indefinitely. Our side can win if we continue to bring
Occupy Atlanta, rallying against corporate greed and the war in
Afghanistan, set up stakes in the park Friday night. The crowd’s size
varied through the weekend.
Reed said the protesters have presented him with a list of demands.
They want the park renamed for Troy Anthony Davis, the man executed
last month for murdering a Savannah police officer. Second, the
protesters want Reed to camp with them overnight in the park. Third,
they want assurances that they won’t be arrested.
Reed said he was praying about whether he should sleep in the park.
But he refused to give assurances that no one would be arrested.
As for renaming Woodruff Park? “That’s not going to happen,” Reed said.
Staff photographer John Spink contributed to this article
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