Occupy Atlanta may be losing steam after Mayor Reed forbids hip hop concert

By David Pendered

Some of the wind seemed to have gone out of the sails of Occupy Atlanta by Sunday afternoon.

The crowd was smaller than that of Sunday a week ago. Those who were at Troy Davis Park, nee Woodruff Park, seemed a bit like the crowd who’d arrived at a hot party after it had peaked.

Mayor Kasim Reed may have contributed to the lackluster feeling. Reed has provided the  group wide privilege at the city’s iconic park in the heart of the central business district. On Sunday, the mayor forbade an unpermitted concert and it was summarily cancelled.

The number of tents seemed about the same, but fewer participants were giving stump speeches. The “media tent” was empty. Several tables where advocates last week distributed literature and talked up their positions were gone.

Area cordoned off last week now open. Credit: David Pendered

Area cordoned off last week now open. Credit: David Pendered

An area near the center of the park, on the south side, that last week had been cordoned off with yellow tape was open on Sunday. On Oct. 16, the patch was moist and odorous.

Speakers with one group used a bullhorn to broadcast their protest of a proposal to harvest oil from sands in Canada and ship it through pipes to refineries near the Gulf Coast. A speaker with Citizens Climate Lobby made an impassioned speech against the proposal. She later asked that her surname not be published.

Police observe from park's northern border. Credit: David Pendered

Police observe from park's northern border. Credit: David Pendered

About 30 Atlanta police officers were positioned around the park. Some walked foot patrols, others sat beside their cars, vans or motorcycles. A mobile command center was parked on the north edge of the park, along Auburn Avenue.

Two college-age students played in the waning sun. One juggled plastic bowling pins while the other spun a hula hoop on her ankles.

Click here to see the juggler perform. Credit: David Pendered

Click here to see the hula hooper. Credit: David Pendered

The juggler said the regular Sunday afternoon gathering of jugglers at Piedmont Park had decided to relocate to Woodruff Park. But only he and one other had arrived, he said.

Water fountain cleaner goes about his work as Occupy Atlanta continues nearby. Credit: David Pendered

Water fountain cleaner goes about his work as Occupy Atlanta continues nearby. Credit: David Pendered

Religion shares stage with politics. Credit: David Pendered

Religion shares stage with politics. Credit: David Pendered

Troy Davis Park

Troy Davis Park is the name Occupy Atlanta has given Woodruff Park. Credit: David Pendered

David Pendered, Managing Editor, is an Atlanta journalist with more than 30 years experience reporting on the region’s urban affairs, from Atlanta City Hall to the state Capitol. Since 2008, he has written for print and digital publications, and advised on media and governmental affairs. Previously, he spent more than 26 years with The Atlanta Journal-Constitution and won awards for his coverage of schools and urban development. David graduated from North Carolina State University and was a Western Knight Center Fellow. David was born in Pennsylvania, grew up in North Carolina and is married to a fifth-generation Atlantan.

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