Occupy Atlanta dispersed by police
Reports from Atlanta reveal that unlike the police raid occurring in California’s Bay Area, police action was relatively peaceful as around 53 protesters were arrested just past midnight. Among those detained were State Senator Vincent Fort, former Atlanta city councilman Derrick Boazman and the southern regional director of Jesse Jackson’s Rainbow PUSH Coalition.
Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed had previously offered his support to the participants in the Occupy Atlanta movement, but switched positions this week, citing an unauthorized concert taking place in the small city park as a reason to revoke his earlier executive orders to let protesters be. In response to the mayor’s change of heart and the subsequent action, Senator Fort said this morning’s actions were “overkill.”
"He's using all these resources … This is the most peaceful place in Georgia," Fort tells The Associated Press. "At the urging of the business community, he's moving people out. Shame on him."
Organizers with the Occupy Atlanta movement added that Mayor Reed had "fabricated danger where none exists” in order to boot protesters from their camp.
The Atlanta Police Department’s riot squad was called in to help with the evacuation but their services were not needed as protesters submitted to arrest peacefully. The 50-plus demonstrators, including Senator Fort, were scheduled to appear in court this morning along with a team of attorneys who were volunteering their services to protect the occupiers’ cause. One attorney, Musa M Ghanayem, weighed in on the sudden eviction this morning from outside the courthouse:
“It’s obvious that there are a lot of problems with the current administration and current issues going on in the city, and a lot of people are unhappy with that and I think that he’s showing his support to his constituents, letting them know that he’s doing everything he can to help change those conditions and to assist the people of Atlanta … in getting jobs and having a better lifestyle,” said Ghanayem.
Mayor Reed had previously offered to send in clergy to the Occupy Atlanta camp in hopes of reaching a compromise, but a would-be meeting on Tuesday night conflicted with a scheduled march, lending protesters to suggest a rescheduled date for Thursday.Organizers with the movement issued a statement after noting that a meeting time between both parties was agreed, as per the mayor’s request, “However, Atlanta police did not wait for this meeting to take place."
An occupation outside of Atlanta’s city hall was expected to continue this morning, though the park remained barren by 10 a.m.
The night before, protesters were violently evicted from Occupy Oakland in California. They vowed to reconvene hours later — and did — only to be once again met with overwhelming police force.