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Occupy Atlanta resists police brutality

Published Nov 10, 2011 6:20 PM

Following the arrest of 53 people on Oct. 25 and the dismantling of the encampment in the newly-named Troy Davis Park, Occupy Atlanta plans to resume a 24-hour presence in the downtown green space. Since Oct. 27, activists have set up tents, held general assemblies and mobilized for protests such as the one against Sun Trust Bank while leaving the park by the closing time.

On Nov. 5, as the 11 p.m. hour approached, hundreds of people were gathered in the park and on the sidewalks. In a surprise move, the protesters moved onto Peachtree Street and started a march. Very quickly the large police presence of uniformed cops was reinforced by a dozen mounted police, SWAT, riot-geared “Robocops,” 30 or more motorcycle police and a helicopter overhead. As the march went south on Peachtree, a single motorcycle cop came barreling north, headed directly for the demonstrators.

His path was impeded by people who did not move fast enough, but also by youth who put their hands out to slow him down. As the front wheel of his bike was within inches of people, the machine lurched to the right and he jumped off. Immediately the crowd was stormed by cops who pushed and shoved a way clear for him to drive off in a rush. One youth was arrested and charged with assault. Within minutes, the riot police and mounted patrol cordoned off the street, allowing uniformed cops to begin arresting people, including three journalists, several students and a man coming out of a nearby restaurant. In total, 20 people were taken into custody.

On Nov. 7, Occupy Atlanta forces went to the foreclosed home of a family threatened with eviction in suburban Gwinnett County. Tents have been set up on the front lawn and a large banner proclaiming “This House Is Occupied” hangs on the front porch. Metro Atlanta has consistently been among the areas with the highest foreclosure rates in the country. Occupy Atlanta states that they will stay until the bank reaches a settlement with the family to remain in their house.