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Mayor: ‘Occupy’ Protesters Putting Atlanta on ‘Path to Escalation’

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"Occupy Atlanta" has been targeted by Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed, who said the protests need to come to an end, citing the increased financial burden placed on the city. (credit: Getty Images)

“Occupy Atlanta” has been targeted by Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed, who said the protests need to come to an end, citing the increased financial burden placed on the city. (credit: Getty Images)

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ATLANTA (CBS Atlanta) – Atlanta’s mayor is ready to put an end to the “Occupy” protests.

Amid rising costs to keep law enforcement present in and around Woodruff Park, Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed has urged an end to the “Occupy Atlanta” movement, a demonstration that began more than three weeks ago in response to “Occupy Wall Street.”

In a press conference Monday, Reed cited the additional $100,000 in beefed-up police presence for Saturday alone, as officers worked overtime in 12-hour shifts to ensure safety for the protesters — the same protesters he connected to a hip-hop concert in the park that same day. Reed called the behavior of some of the “Occupy Atlanta” the kind of actions that “puts them on a path to escalation,” he said.

“It drains important police resources from people who pay taxes in the city of Atlanta,” Reed said.

Some community leaders in support of “Occupy Atlanta,” however, are against the mayor’s stance.

“I’m very disappointed about his position,” State Sen. Vincent Fort told CBS Atlanta. “I think it’s unfortunate and wrong.”

Since Reed’s press conference Monday, the number of people demonstrating at Woodruff Park has increased significantly, Fort said.

Several hundred protesters took part in the demonstration when Fort was there Monday night. Fort told CBS Atlanta that he was proud to support “Occupy Atlanta,” continuing to liken it to the civil rights demonstrations.

Shortly after Reed’s stance against the future of “Occupy Atlanta,” the group released a statement, saying that it stands firmly in solidarity with “Occupy Wall Street” and the other protests worldwide.

“The corruption of our political system by modern-day robber barons is the real clear and present danger,” the group said in a statement. “People are literally dying in the streets while the Mayor’s primary concern seems to be trying to end our attempt to shine a light on these problems.”

Though it isn’t clear what the immediate future is for “Occupy Atlanta” in the wake of Reed saying the movement is draining taxpayer money, Fort believes the protests aren’t likely to go away.

“If he wants to be like Bull Connor, then so be it,” Fort said.

“Occupy Atlanta” officials are expected to hold a press conference this afternoon. Emails sent by CBS Atlanta to “Occupy Atlanta” officials were not immediately returned.

The mayor’s office said it was going to release data related to Reed’s stance, but no data has been released to this point.

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