UPDATED: Occupy Atlanta Plans to Re-Occupy Woodruff Park
Protesters now staying at Peachtree-Pine homeless shelter plan return to Woodruff Park, as well as marches this week.
Nearly a week after being kicked out of Woodruff Park, Occupy Atlanta vows it will return to the Downtown green space it held for 15 days.
And this time, the group says it’s bringing backup.
The Nation of Islam will send some of its members with Occupy Atlanta, which plans to take back the park Nov. 5, organizer Mandie Mitchell told Patch Monday. The group currently is staying at the Peachtree-Pine homeless shelter in Midtown (check out the photos to the right).
"We are getting ready to re-occupy the park," said Mitchell, one of 52 people arrested last Tuesday night.
Mitchell said the goal is to have at least 100 protesters when the group returns to the park on Saturday, along with members of the Nation of Islam.
"I think that will make a huge difference," said David Smith, regarding the Nation of Islam. Smith said he has camped out with Occupy Atlanta since the group first took over Woodruff Park — (or Troy Davis Park as it's been renamed by protesters) — on Oct. 7.
Calls to the Nation of Islam’s national headquarters in Chicago and its regional offices in Atlanta, were not immediately returned.
An Atlanta Police Department spokesman said Occupy Atlanta, like any other group, is welcome to use public parks.
"They are welcomed to enjoy our parks," APD spokesman Carlos Campos said. " But we will enforce all city rules and regulations, including 11 p.m. closing times."
A spokeswoman for Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed did not immediately respond to an e-mail request for comment.
Reed last week said protests were getting out of hand when Occupy Atlanta members brought generators and other gas-powered equipment to cook in the park. He also cited an unauthorized hip-hop concert that took place in the park, as well as a man who was walking around the park with an AK-47 strapped to his back.
Since Saturday, about 100 protesters have taken up residence on the fourth floor of the Peachtree-Pine homeless shelter in Midtown.
"We are mid-move right now," Mitchell said. Monday afternoon, members of the group were hauling in items including sleeper sofas, whiteboards and computer equipment.
The plan, she said, is to make the homeless shelter the headquarters for Occupy Atlanta, replacing a current office on Walton Street.
While they stay there, the group is helping to repair the shelter. On Monday, people were patching a leaky spot in the ceiling, Mitchell said.
"My personal goal is to take a stand on this building," Mitchell said. The Metro Atlanta Task Force for the Homeless owes the city of Atlanta thousands of dollars in unpaid water and sewer bills and has been threatened with eviction.
Mitchell said the shelter needs some backing. "This is what the movement is about — it's a people's movement," she said.
Occupy Atlanta has several events planned for this week, including:
- On Tuesday, the group plans to march with the Metro Atlanta Task Force for the Homeless. The march, which is set for 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., will "remember all those who lost their lives every year living on the streets," according to a Facebook post.
- On Wednesday, the group plans to march from Piedmont Park to the Wells Fargo building at Atlantic Station. The event is set for 3 to 6 p.m., according to a Facebook post.