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Ousted Occupy Atlanta group moves to MLK center

October 28, 2011 |  4:24 am

Occupy Atlanta protesters were among those rousted from their original meeting spot this week by police. On Thursday night, the group had relocated to the federally owned Martin Luther King Jr. national historic site, outside Atlanta police jurisdiction -- though it may prove to be more of a canny PR move than a long-term strategic solution.

The MLK site, just east of downtown, is Atlanta's most hallowed place, operated in a partnership with the National Park Service, the King Center and Ebenezer Baptist Church, where Atlanta's revered native son once preached. King's burial chamber and family home are part of the complex.

Though perhaps best known for his fight against racial injustice, King was also a boisterous champion of the rights of the poor, a cause one imagines would have aligned him with the Occupy crowd.

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King's legacy has also been invoked by recent conservative populist movements as well: Tea Party groups around the country attended an August 2010 "Restoring Honor" rally hosted by radio and TV personality Glenn Beck on the anniversary of MLK's freedom march.

According to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, as many as 150 protesters were at the site Thursday night, but were planning to move Friday morning, after they were warned that they could face federal charges if arrested on the property.

Clark Moore, the chief park ranger for the site, told the paper that protesters would need to be out at 8 a.m., an hour before the park opens.

Tim Franzen, an Occupy Atlanta leader, said the group planned to move to private property by Friday morning.


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--Richard Fausset in Atlanta

Photo: An Occupy Atlanta protester goes through dismantled tents brought out of Woodruff Park in downtown Atlanta on Wednesday. About 40 to 50 people who refused to leave the park were arrested after several warnings. The group, an offshoot of the Occupy Wall Street movement, had been in Woodruff Park for about three weeks. Credit: EPA / ERIK S. LESSER