ATLANTA — An unsanctioned hip-hop concert and a man waking through Robert W. Woodruff Park with an AK-47 appeared to be more than enough for Mayor Kasim Reed.
Late Tuesday, Reed ordered the Occupy Atlanta protesters to leave the park where they had camped for more than two weeks. In clearing the park, police arrested 53 people, city officials said; all were released Wednesday on signature bonds, according to the protesters.
“For more than two weeks, the City of Atlanta, downtown residents and business owners have shown tolerance and patience for the members of Occupy Atlanta,” Reed said in a news release. “The protesters, however, moved from conducting an initially peaceful demonstration to increasingly aggressive actions. These actions led to my decision today to revoke the Executive Order. I would like to commend the Atlanta Police Department on executing an operation that resulted in no incidents.”
Reed said he would work with clergy to try and bring a peaceful resolution to the protest.
“The evidence shows that despite the fact that Mayor Reed claimed that he was sending clergy to speak with Occupy Atlanta in order to find a ‘peaceful solution,’ the outcome was already predetermined,” the group said in a statement.
“Representatives from the group of clergy arrived at the park and requested a meeting for 5 pm,” the group said. “That time was not available because of a planned march which was posted in the schedule on Occupy Atlanta’s website. Participants in Occupy Atlanta and the representatives of the group of clergy agreed on a meeting time of Thursday at noon at Big Bethel AME Church. However, Atlanta police did not wait for this meeting to take place.”