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.
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 She later asked that her surname not be published.
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.
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.