ATLANTA - Occupy Atlanta demonstrators spent Friday taking over a bank-owned home in southwest Atlanta’s Pittsburgh community.
Channel 2's Sophia Choi went to the home on Windsor Street as Occupy members carried furniture inside. Demonstrators weren’t shy about staking the claim, covering the home in signs identifying the movement.
Electricity and water are now up and running. Two members of the group, Reneka Wheeler and Michelene Meusa, moved in Thursday with their two kids after bouncing around in shelters. Other members are keeping them company in case officers attempt to remove them.
“You got veterans. You got cancer patients. All these people getting kicked out of their homes when one like this stands vacant. Why is that?” Wheeler told Choi.
The house is owned by M&T bank. Bank officials said they are now investigating the takeover.
“The best thing for them to do is literally to give it up, because really they're not doing anything with it," Meusa said.
The couple faces some opposition within the neighborhood.
“They're taking these homes, and they're living in them for free,” said Harold Williams, who runs a corner store up the street.
He said a lot of neighbors aren’t happy with the move, but Occupy Atlanta members said they even had the support of the home’s former owner.
“We also have knocked on every door in the six block area and have had almost 100 percent support,” Occupy’s Tim Franzen said.
Atlanta police said if the bank chooses to file a criminal trespass complaint, officers will enforce it, but that hasn't happened.