Officers from the Atlanta Police Department swarmed Woodruff Park at around 12:45 am this morning and arrested 53 Occupy Atlanta protesters. Occupy Atlanta has been in Woodruff Park since October 7.
According to the AJC, Mayor Kasim Reed said more than 100 officers were involved in the operation to clear the park. The arrests were orderly and peaceful, but some of the protesters had to be dragged out.
Occupy Atlanta released the following statement overnight:
“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. Representatives from the group of clergy arrived at the park and requested a meeting for 5 p.m. 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.”
The group aims to return to Woodruff Park but other options have also been explored.
The 53 arrested protesters were taken to the Atlanta City Detention Center and charged with violating a city ordinance, a misdemeanor.
Among those handcuffed were State Sen. Vincent Fort (D-Atlanta), former Atlanta city councilman Derrick Boazman and Joe Beasley, the southern regional director of the Rainbow PUSH Coalition.