Atlanta braces for more arrests if 'Occupy' protesters return
As far as city officials are concerned, Atlanta is in the endgame of dealing with the "Occupy" movement, and that could mean more arrests, similar to those on Wednesday, if needed.
The more than 50 people arrested overnight in Robert W. Woodruff Park were released Wednesday afternoon on a $100 signature bond pending a formal arraignment March 9.
The park was closed as the city cleaned up the area, which had been home to about 70 people since Oct. 7, according to Sonji Jacobs, director of communications for the city. Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed said he acted after the protesters posed a threat to security and to public safety.
The park is scheduled to reopen Thursday morning and will be available to any person doing a permitted activity. At 11 p.m., the park will close, and if anyone tries to stay, “police will act in much the same manner as last night” and arrest those violating the law, Jacobs said in a telephone interview.
“We will enforce the law,” she said, adding the city’s posture is based on the current facts, which could change, but “right now we will enforce the law.”
Protesters had been allowed to stay overnight in the park because Reed, on Oct. 17, extended his order allowing the protests. But late Tuesday, Reed revoked that order, citing concerns about “public safety and escalating tension in the park."
Occupy Atlanta has not made its future plans clear, and scheduled a news conference for late Wednesday.
"Occupy Atlanta is not going anywhere," said state Sen. Vincent Fort, one of those arrested at the park. "We'll take a few days to regroup and strategize."
-- Michael Muskal
Photo: An Occupy Atlanta protester is arrested early Wednesday. Credit: David Goldman / Associated Press