Friday, October 14, 2011

Downtowners: Occupy Atlanta protesters have 'overstayed their welcome'

Posted By on Fri, Oct 14, 2011 at 10:12 AM

The Atlanta Downtown Neighborhood Association says it's disappointed in Mayor Kasim Reed's executive order allowing Occupy Atlanta protesters to remain at Woodruff Park until Monday. In addition to asking the mayor to broker a "peaceful resolution" before next week's deadline, the neighborhood group wonders if the city's set a precedent by allowing the protesters to stay even one night.

From an email sent by the ADNA to Reed and Atlanta City Councilmembers:

Thank you for acknowledging the concerns of Downtown residents regarding the Occupy Atlanta protests in Woodruff Park. We appreciate your understanding of the negative effects that the protests have had on our quality of life, including excessive noise at all hours, trash, and wear and tear on a greenspace that we use on a daily basis. While we respect everyone's freedom of speech, the protesters who have overtaken Woodruff Park have overstayed their welcome.

We understand your desire to respect our city's legacy of non-violent civil rights demonstrations, but your decision to overrule city ordinances is very disappointing. We have invested our lives in revitalizing the historic and economic core of our city and region. We own property here and continue to work hard to make Downtown Atlanta a safe and attractive place to live, work, and play. We take pride in the years of progress that have been made at Woodruff Park through our combined efforts with the city, Central Atlanta Progress/Atlanta Downtown Improvement District, and Georgia State University, but allowing a large group of people to inhabit the park for such a period of time not only causes tangible physical damage to the park itself but also endangers its intangible value to the community.

We believe that you could have enforced the city's ordinances, swiftly and non-violently, on the first night the protesters violated city law. When another group attempts to hold a protest or other event on city property without going through the proper channels, they will expect the same leniency. At the very least, we fully expect and look forward to you keeping your promise of returning the park to normal by Monday; it would be most welcome if a peaceful resolution can be reached before then.

The group decided last Friday night to set up camp and occupy the downtown greenspace.

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