We've been following occupations around the country, and the Atlanta Journal Constitution just confirmed it.
Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed on Saturday issued a second ultimatum to Occupy Atlanta protesters who have camped out at a popular Downtown park: Leave or be arrested.
Around 5 pm., Reed was huddling with aides and Atlanta police inside a mobile communications unit near Woodruff Park, where Occupy Atlanta protesters have camped for several weeks, vowing not to leave the area.
Occupy Atlanta leader Tim Franzen said he and local civil rights leader Joe Beasley met with Reed in the mobile unit around 3:30 p.m. and the mayor, visibly angry, ordered the group to clear the park Saturday or face charges.
Reed had extended an executive order this week, allowing Occupy Atlanta to remain in Woodruff Park until Nov. 7. Franzen said the mayor did not address that extension, nor did he provide a specific time to vacate Saturday.
“We are here until the civic problems that brought us here are changed,” Franzen vowed. “I wish he would be more angry about the civic reasons why we are here.”
Efforts were continuing Saturday to reach the mayor or representatives from his office for comment.
We'll be following social media tonight and bringing you the news from Atlanta with frequent updates. As the article explained, the protesters were given no set time for the eviction, which could come tonight.
Updates to follow.
We Are The Other 99 is a new independent media company which has been on the ground at Zuccotti park since the first day of the occupation. We have contributors have been traveling the country in the past weeks, and we will bring you first hand footage and reporting from many of the occupations around the nation. Please donate to keep us on site and in the fight.
3:24 PM PT: A number of Kossacks have already pointed out the whiplash caused by the sudden change in tone. As mentioned in the AJC article, Mayor Reed had issued an executive order allowing the protesters to stay until Nov 7th.
There has to be a story behind the sudden change.
Twenty four hours ago:
But Reed isn't necessarily complaining.
"I do happen to know that it would be more costly to arrest them, in all candor, than to have them occupying the park," Reed said.
Occupy Atlanta presents challenges relating to politics and precedent. As a political liberal, Reed is sympathetic. As the city's mayor, he knows his constituents are of a mixed mind.
"I'm on dangerous ground on terms of personally being criticized. Because a future organization could level a criticism that I treated one group differently," Reed said.
"But my position with regard to Occupy Atlanta really has more to do with balancing our city's tradition of respecting and being a tolerant place, versus the right of the people in the community to have quiet. So it is a balancing test."
3:35 PM PT: Okay, we have an explanation for why this is happening. Occupy Atlanta held a concert without a permit.
To generate more local support for its cause, Occupy Atlanta announced it would join with local hip hop artists for the concert in Woodruff Park.
The on-again, off-again concert appeared to be back on Saturday after promoters, who had originally been denied a permit, proceeded with Occupy Atlanta as a sponsor, since it had been allowed to be in the park.
By 3 p.m., artists were performing on a small stage with few police seen in the distance. Police, however, had positioned a mobile communications command center nearby.
Shortly afterward, a police officer with two officials emerged from the mobile unit and approached the stage. As they tried to get on stage, they appeared to be blocked by those already on stage.
The officer and two officials, a man and woman, then circled the stage and returned to the mobile unit. Shortly afterward, Franzen and Beasley, head of the Rainbow Push coalition, could be seen approaching and then entering the mobile unit.
Franzen emerged a half-hour later and told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution that the mayor was livid and yelled at him and Beasley, demanding that Occupy Atlanta clear the park.
“He was very angry, very upset,” said Franzen, who said the mayor began “yelling right away” after they entered the mobile unit.
From the same AJC article I quoted earlier. Update 8 minutes ago.
This news comes as we have reports of an increasing police presence around Zuccotti. At least three police buses are parked near church and park.
If anything happens here, we'll bring you the news as part of this liveblog.
3:43 PM PT: We're getting some significant rumblings that something may be about to happen at Zuccotti. Confirmed reports of a truly massive police presence.
This comes after a week of minor conflicts with the police, arrests at banks, and arrests at a march to a police precinct in Harlem, where protesters intentionally barred the doors. One of them was Cornell West, who was arrested.
We have two contributors in route.
3:45 PM PT: A third contributor is heading to Zuccotti park now. We're getting reports of the largest police presence they've seen.
3:49 PM PT: Atlanta Livestream is up.
3:51 PM PT: Melissa Allen Heath (@melisheath) tweets:
@KasimReed Count me as one more native Atlantan supporting #OccupyAtlanta. I'm employed, I have kids & a house, I am the 99% - and I vote.
3:52 PM PT: Atlanta Livestream just went down. This is typical. I'll update when the livestream goes back up.
3:53 PM PT: Atlanta PD staging at civic center.
3:56 PM PT: Great sign from the Times Square protest last weekend: http://i.imgur.com/...
Article about US Marines taking part in Occupy events nationally:
4:00 PM PT: Tweet: @KasimReed, you were at the MLK dedication. Does civil disobedience to fight against wrong now mean nothing to you? Let #OccupyAtlanta stay!
Kasim Reed's most recent tweet is about how awesome the MLK dedication was.
4:03 PM PT: Lots of police nearby, but a light police presence at Zuccotti.
There are a lot of spontaneous marches on saturday nights, where some occupiers have attempted to push onto wall st. The police presence nearby may be in preparation for potential marches. We still have people on site, just in case.
4:10 PM PT: Police presence near Thompkins Square Park, where a march was protesting stop and frisk, is now dwindling down.
There are multiple marches every day, many of them completely spontaneous. Several thousand are in Zuccotti park right now, which is calm. Thompkins Square Park is dying down now as well, as protesters leave the area.
Chants of "Stop and Frisk Ain't no Crime, Stop and Frisk IS the crime!" refer to the controversial stop and frisk policy, which is said to unfairly target the Black, Asian, and Latin communities in New York City.
When the communities themselves are telling us they're being targeted, my inclination is to believe them until I see contradictory evidence.
Always believe the victim.
4:11 PM PT: More images from Atlanta where police are continuing to set up at a Staging Area near the civic center.
4:15 PM PT: Another great Occupy Marines video where Kieth Olbermann interviews a marine veteran who went to Iraq 14 times.
4:15 PM PT: General Assembly going on at East Side of Zuccotti Park: http://twitter.com/...
4:18 PM PT: In other news, Jessie LaGreca (MinistryOfTruth) has landed in Madison, Wisconsin, where he will be addressing the Occupy Madison GA. We'll have an update for you on that Tomorrow, and he may post about it tonight, if he can.
4:21 PM PT: Referring to him as "windsock," someone has just posted Mayor Reed's e-mail address on twitter. Tell him what you think of the eviction: MayorReed@atlantaga.gov
4:27 PM PT: On the drummers issue: http://twitter.com/...
Mediation Spokesperson tells drummers that they need to obey the consensus reached by the general assembly on the hours in which drumming will be allowed.
Some drummers say they'll stop at 10.
4:28 PM PT: The Atlanta PD who have been staging at the Civic Center are now leaving. Are they on their way to the park?
4:28 PM PT: Full story on the Anti Stop and Frisk march:
4:34 PM PT: CORRECTION. OCCUPY BOSTON was not being evicted. They were broadcasting recorded images with an emblem that said "Live." The video was from a previous eviction of Rose Kennedy park, across the street from the occupation site.
4:36 PM PT: For those of you who can't see, occupy boston protesters are being arrested, and their tents torn down.
4:41 PM PT: Looks like the Boston video was a pre-prepared presentation that is being broadcasted.
4:42 PM PT: Confirmed. Boston was giving an excellent pre-recorded video presentation. Still ongoing, I suggest you check it out.
4:45 PM PT: Two buses just pulled into the civic center near Occupy Atlanta. There is a lot of police activity happening now.
Atlanta livestream is still dark.
4:48 PM PT: Pictures of those busses in atlanta: http://twitpic.com/...
4:48 PM PT: "Buses" rather.
4:53 PM PT: joanneleon writes: http://www.dailykos.com/...
I'm anxious about the increased police presence at Zuccotti. I've been there on the days of the Brooklyn Bridge march and the Union Square (women pepper sprayed) march, both on Saturdays IIRC. On both of those days the police presence built up in the late afternoon.
Is it possible that they were geared up for the march against police brutality and after the march ended they came back to Zuccotti? The day of the Brooklyn Bridge march the presence was enormous not only at the park but they were down all the adjacent streets.
On the Phila. local news they just showed a picture of a guy who climbed the big red sculpture and was sitting at the intersecting part of it. I think they said he was about 40 feet up and was up there for a couple hours before the police used a bucket truck to bring him down. That's not enough to cause a big police presence though.
If they were to choose a night of the week to try to clear the park, what night would they choose, do you think? People don't watch the news as much on weekends. But I think Saturday night is the night when the crowd at the park is the biggest. Seems a bad night to move in on them.
First, I think you're right about the police presence.
They seem to be holding back from the park, with a lot of chatter about police vehicles nearby. They're probably waiting for a huge crowd as marchers regroup.
Second, you're right about Saturday being a bad night. If they clear the park, they'll wait for a day (daytime specifically) with bad weather. A lot of people work during the day, so the crowd dwindles in the morning. A morning with bad weather would be when I would choose to clear Zuccotti.
This is all just speculation. Only Bloomberg knows when or if the park will be cleared.
Thanks for your question!
4:57 PM PT: Police move into Zuccotti to arrest one person. Small police presence. Video from our reporter:
5:02 PM PT: Video of Marching Band at Zuccotti. Our reporter is confirming a large police presence on the southeast side.
Marching band plays "Push it." at Zuccotti. One man holds B.F.A.T.A. banner.
Video from our reporter.
5:08 PM PT: Correction for 4:57 PST update: Small police presence inside park. Large police presence outside.
5:11 PM PT: Atlanta protesters are holding strong as police stage at the nearby civic center. They may be attempting to negotiate. The mayor was on-site earlier this evening. I cannot confirm the reports of negotiation.
5:12 PM PT: #OccupyAtlanta still having trouble with their live-feed equipment.
5:17 PM PT: Occupyatlanta.org is down. This isn't good.
5:28 PM PT: Reed backs down?
Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed’s office denied an Occupy Atlanta leader’s assertion that protesters who have been camped at Woodruff Park had to leave Saturday or face arrest.
“There has been no such order,” Reed spokeswoman Sonji Dade told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “That is not true.”
Occupy Atlanta leader Tim Franzen emerged from a meeting with the mayor several hours earlier Saturday and said a livid Reed had demanded that protesters who have occupied the park for several weeks clear out.
“He was very angry, very upset,” said Franzen, who added that the mayor began “yelling right away” after they entered the mobile unit.
Franzen said Occupy Atlanta was given no specific time to clear the park. “He’s not being specific.” He said the mayor warned that protesters remaining will “get their wish” to be arrested.
Dade, however, said no deadline was given because none existed, other than a Nov. 7 date included in a recent executive order that allows the group to remain until that time.
“Nothing has changed,” Dade said Saturday several hours after the meeting between Reed and Franzen.
So it looks like there wont be an eviction after all.
What the hell went on in that meeting?
To quote a Burned below:
There is sometimes a bit of a misreading when people that engage in too much drama put themselves out front of a movement.
Tim Franzen, who met with Mayor Reed and is often identified as a leader of OA by the AJC, which is not so, said immediately after his meeting that he didn't know exactly what Reed meant but that he was assuming he meant they had to clear out tonight. He has said this repeatedly today and tonight but dropping the he wasn't sure part.
Mayor Reed has since said it is not true.
I'm sure that both parties, Reed and those that wish to add zest to OA are engaging in PR.
The show was ended early in order to save the occupation.
I believe that all is well though. Fingers crossed.
My fingers are crossed too. The civic center buildup was probably just a shift change. Buses are present here at NYC.
I'm going to be much more suspicious of the Atlanta Journal Constitution now.
Still, there's a huge police group at the civic center. 8 vans, 3 busses, 35 cars.
5:30 PM PT: There is still a standing order to evict on November 7th.
5:33 PM PT: In unrelated news:
Madison capital at night, next stop tonight is #OccupyMilwaukee. I love this state already #ows #occupywallst lockerz.com/s/149454970
5:39 PM PT: A tense night in Atlanta tonight, with a major police presence at a nearby Civic Center.
Looks like the Occupation of Atlanta continues, at least until Reed's executive order expires.
But for now, all is quiet. I'll let you know when this blog shuts down for the night, as we're still covering the tense situation. The Atlanta Journal Constitution was wrong at least once tonight, and while I doubt it will be wrong a second time, I'm staying tuned for now.
5:58 PM PT: The police at the civic center are now calmly eating dinner dropped off by another officer.
Seems like a calm night in Atlanta. And with that, I'm bringing this Blog to a close.
Thanks for staying with us.
Occupy Boston streamed a video labeled "Live" that was not.
The Mayor of Atlanta threatened to end the Occupation if a concert was not ended and a generator which constituted a fire-hazard was not removed. The protesters complied, and the occupation was saved.
Jesse LaGreca is in Madison, and will head to Milwaukee.
New York City is seeing the large police presence they normally do on a Saturday, but augmented because some protesters (the anti Stop and Frisk crowd) are seen as anti-police. The police get extra-nervous about that crowd. Both blue and white shirts have said as much to me.
So, Reporting from Lower Manhattan, we say thank you for staying with us through a tense, but ultimately uneventful night. But be advised: this will not be televised.
6:00 PM PT: We'll leave you with some good footage out of Chicago.