Twenty Occupy Atlanta demonstrators were arrested early Sunday morning, when they refused to disperse after an 11PM curfew. In a scene that has become common in recent weeks, police in riot gear were forced to intervene when the Occupy group failed to act in an orderly fashion. As most of the group was leaving Woodruff Park, they began to pour into Peachtree Street. Several people ignored the order from police to remain on the sidewalks and were subsequently arrested.
The protesters continued to shout at the officers, with chants such as, "Shame! Shame!" and "What about your pensions?" Others yelled more insulting things like, "Put the pigs back in their sty, we the people occupy."
Occupy Atlanta has also incurred earlier arrests. On Oct. 26, more than 50 people who were violating a city ordinance by staying in the park after closing, were arrested.
La'die Mansfield, 29, a spokeswoman for Occupy Atlanta, said the police used "unnecessary force" and stressed that the group would continue to organize and to protest what they see as a system that promotes an unequal distribution of wealth. "Today is a sad day for us. It's almost like we're seeing a little bit of what happened in Oakland here, not to the extent," she said. "Today was just a reminder of the system that we have, the corrupt system."
The Occupy movement, which initially seemed to begin with sincere and peaceful protestors, has rapidly move toward a more radical and increasingly violent agenda. The group appears to have been infiltrated with far-left "revolutionaries", who are very vocal at destroying the core principles that have formed the basis for our nation. The re-distribution of wealth is a subject that President Obama has raised since his days on the 2008 campaign trail. He has also voiced support for the Occupy movement, of which Occupy Atlanta represents one regional segment.
Free speech is a fundamental, American ideal. These groups certainly have the right to voice their opinions and ideas. At the same time, it is disturbing that the protestors also seem fixed on an extreme socialist agenda. Many of the "wealthy" Americans have worked hard for what they have achieved. In this era of entitlements, where ideologically based government programs have grown beyond economic safety nets for the poor to more directly become re-distributive policies, it's difficult to imagine how much more could be done to satisfy groups such as Occupy Atlanta. As our national debt swells to $15 trillion and the economic crisis worsens, there simply is no more money to spend - unless we borrow more from China.
Photo source: FlickrDay 50 at the Occupy Wall Street protest in New York (November 5, 2011)