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Errin Haines reports: "With helicopters hovering overhead, police moved into a downtown Atlanta park and arrested around 50 Occupy Wall Street protesters who had been encamped there for about two weeks early Wednesday. Police included SWAT teams in riot gear, dozens of officers on motorcycles and several on horseback. By about 1:30 a.m. Wednesday the park was mostly cleared of protesters."

A protestor at the Occupy Atlanta demonstration is arrested after refusing to leave the encampment. Mayor Kasim Reed revoked his executive order allowing the protestors to camp out in Woodruff Park, 10/26/11. (photo: David Goldman/AP)
A protestor at the Occupy Atlanta demonstration is arrested after refusing to leave the encampment. Mayor Kasim Reed revoked his executive order allowing the protestors to camp out in Woodruff Park, 10/26/11. (photo: David Goldman/AP)



Police Raid Occupy Atlanta

By Errin Haines, Associated Press

26 October 11

 

Occupy Wall Street: Take the Bull by the Horns

 

ith helicopters hovering overhead, police moved into a downtown Atlanta park and arrested around 50 Occupy Wall Street protesters who had been encamped there for about two weeks early Wednesday.

Like in many other cities, protesters had been camping in Woodruff Park to rally against what they see as corporate greed and a wide range of other economic issues.

Before police moved in, protesters were warned a couple times around midnight to vacate the park or risk arrest.

Inside the park, the warnings were drowned out by drumbeats and chants of "Our park!"

Organizers had instructed participants to be peaceful if arrests came, and most were. Many gathered in the center of the park, locking arms, and sang "We Shall Overcome," until police led them out, one-by-one to waiting buses. Some were dragged out while others left on foot, handcuffed with plastic ties.

Police included SWAT teams in riot gear, dozens of officers on motorcycles and several on horseback. By about 1:30 a.m. Wednesday the park was mostly cleared of protesters.

State Sen. Vincent Fort was among those arrested and had come to the park in support of the protesters in recent days. He said the police presence was "overkill."

"He's using all these resources ... This is the most peaceful place in Georgia," Fort said, referring to Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed. "At the urging of the business community, he's moving people out. Shame on him."

Reed told reporters he had serious security concerns. They were heightened Tuesday when a man was seen in the park with an assault rifle, the mayor said. He said authorities could not determine whether the weapon was loaded, and were unable to get additional information about it.

Occupy Atlanta organizers said the demonstrators who were arrested would go before a judge Wednesday morning. They were planning a march from the park to the jail shortly before the court hearings.

"It's real simple: This is a crisis of priorities that this small group of campers ... is the greatest threat in this city. It's outrageous," said organizer Tim Franzen.

Reed on Monday said he planned to revoke the permit allowing Occupy Atlanta protesters to live in the park, but was vague about when that might come.

Late Tuesday, police started surrounding the park at a busy intersection, and some protesters gathered up their tents, pillows, sleeping bags and other belongings, saying they didn't want to lose them. Right after the order to leave, some did, standing outside the barricades.

Hundreds of others stood on Atlanta's famous Peachtree Street, booing police. They shouted "Shame!" and "Who do you protect? Who do you serve?"

Reed said he was upset over an advertised hip-hop concert that he said drew 600 people to the park over the weekend but didn't have a permit and didn't have security guards to work the crowd, calling it irresponsible.

As police moved in, protesters chanted, "Who's park, our park," and "We are here, we are stronger, we can't take it any longer."

TV images showed the number of police far outnumbering the protesters.

In Oakland, Calif., police shot tear gas in response to rock throwing from some of the demonstrators who had gathered there, authorities said.


Associated Press writer Jeff Martin contributed to this report.

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+3 # rsnfan 2011-10-26 12:06
Police state here we come. What is next
 
 
+7 # Eastmain 2011-10-26 12:10
Atlanta, Oakland and other cities are going about this completely the wrong way. The people have a right to protest and the encampments are an exercise of that First Amendment right.

Accordingly, the mayors and the police are obligated by law and the oaths they took, to protect the people as they exercise their right.

I have read of concerns over sanitation and vandalism. If these concerns are legitimate, the proper response is to order the city sanitation department to assist the occupiers in maintaining the area. If that means supplying the park with portable toilets and some hand washing facilities that is easily accomplished. Go to any county fair or music festival and you will see them used safely and effectively.

The alleged vandalism should be dealt with as vandalism is ordinarily dealt with; identify and arrest the perpetrators. Clearly the mayors have large enough police forces to accomplish this.

In short, if the mayors chose to accomodate the people's exercise of liberty, rather than confront it, there would be less conflict. And the mayors would be utilizing far fewer of the cities' resources and treasury.
 
 
+8 # DPM 2011-10-26 12:25
Apparently money talks and Reed was listening. You can't tell me that the 1% isn't a little more than concerned about all of these protesters. They are leaning on the politicians (their lackey's) to put an end to the demonstrating.
I think we need to start flooding the courts with law suites. OCCUPY THE COURTS!
 
 
+4 # Tippitc 2011-10-26 14:42
Was Officer Obie there?!?! It sounds like the cops got to haul out "all kinds of cop equipment they had hanging around the police officers station". Overkill - indeed!!
As far as an Occupier being seen with an assault rifle, I want to see an "8X10 color glossy" photo - or was that a figment of someone's imagination?
 
 
-1 # Phlippinout 2011-10-26 21:04
God forbid they use common sense!
 
 
+1 # pernsey 2011-10-26 16:10
What an outrage!!
 
 
+1 # MalleusMaleficarum 2011-10-26 20:05
Police state, here we are.
 
 
+1 # Lloyd Wagner 2011-10-26 20:25
Huh? There weren't enough police at that concert already, the organizers were supposed to pay off-duty cops outrageous hourly wages for MORE cops to hassle them?
And "a man was seen with an assault rifle" in the park, but no further info is available from the authorities ... Yeah, sure.
 
 
-2 # Phlippinout 2011-10-26 21:03
Go ahead, beat us, arrest us, we know the horrific drill of law enforcement. First they attack in the vulnerable hours, just like always and then they proceed to pull by the hair, anal rape, hazing or whatever they have learned to humiliate the brave people that protest peacefully. The reason i cannot go is that i would fight back and get hurt because I hate police and their stupid ass tactics. Just ask Jose Guerenas wife about the violence they bring, ask Sean Bells mother about the violence the police bring, just ask Oscar Grant, the pitiful list goes on!
 
 
0 # DorothyK 2011-10-27 20:20
I have come to expect this type of treatment of individuals who live in the Southern USA--after all, the average southern police are well practiced it. Most of their culture has been practicing this brutality for over 200 years. However, that's just an excuse. It still doesn't make it right, past practice or not.
 

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