Police in Atlanta evicted Occupy Wall Street protestors from a public park Wednesday, arresting 53 people a day after an Oakland protest camp was broken up with 75 arrests.
The police actions marked the most serious push back so far by authorities against the burgeoning economic protest movement, which has spread across the country and worldwide since it began in mid-September with an impromptu protest camp in New York’s financial district.
Atlanta mayor Kasim Reed had earlier promised to allow the protestors to stay until next week but said he was forced to change his mind because of continuing safety concerns at the site, which had grown to encompass some 75 tents.
Police moved in to evict the campers early Wednesday after providing protestors with two warnings. Arrests were made without incident, Reed said.
“For more than two weeks, the city of Atlanta, downtown residents and business owners have shown tolerance and patience for the members of Occupy Atlanta,” Reed said in a statement. “The protesters, however, moved from conducting an initially peaceful demonstration to increasingly aggressive actions.”
However, State Sen. Vincent Fort, who was one of those arrested, said that such charges were trumped up to justify the eviction.
“This is the most peaceful place in Georgia,” Fort told reporters. “At the urging of the business community, he’s moving people out. Shame on him.”
Source: Copyright 2011 dpa Deutsche Presse-Agentur GmbH