ATLANTA, Ga. (CBS Atlanta) — Atlanta’s mayor is now dealing with the wrath of the Tea Party.
Atlanta Tea Party co-founder Julianne Thompson is calling out Mayor Kasim Reed, saying he was implicitly encouraging “Occupy Atlanta” through his executive order that allowed protesters to ignore city ordinances until he expelled them from Woodruff Park Tuesday.
She told CBS Atlanta her group has abandoned planned peaceful protests at the park in the past because of the red tape and “prohibitive” costs involved.
Reed publicly said he sympathizes with the nationwide movement in which “Occupy Atlanta” participates.
Thompson said he could keep his sympathy so far as she is concerned. Instead, she’ll take a free pass for the Tea Party’s next demonstration, or she’ll sue.
“It all comes down to equality,” Thompson said. The Tea Party doesn’t plan to occupy the park but wishes to demonstrate according to ordinances currently governing Woodruff.
Thompson added, “The mayor is rewarding ‘Occupy Atlanta’ for breaking the law.”
On the other side, “Occupy Atlanta” is re-grouping after dozens were arrested Tuesday night. Joe Beasley, the southern regional director of the Rainbow PUSH Coalition and chairman of the Joe Beasley Foundation, said that Atlanta Police Chief George Turner is taking his orders from a “tyrant” in Mayor Reed.
“Bull Connor was a chief of police,” he said. “Chief Turner is a thoughtful man but he is under the orders of a tyrant.”
Reed defended his decision to revoke his executive order. He said the protest started off peacefully but evolved into a violent mass that threatened public safety.
He commended Atlanta police for clearing the park “without incident,” while protesters said each of the 53 arrests was its own incident.
Calls made by CBS Atlanta to Mayor Reed’s office were not immediately returned.