by: John Bachman Updated:ATLANTA,None —
As Occupy Atlanta protesters are being released from jail after refusing to leave Woodruff Park, Mayor Kasim Reed is revealing the key to peaceful arrests and his plan if the protesters return.
Atlanta accomplished something many other American cities could not: A peaceful end to occupy protests.
But, Reed said the special treatment for Occupy Atlanta protesters is over.
Channel 2's John Bachman sat down with Reed to ask about his decision to arrest protesters and what happens next.
Bachman asked Reed if his tolerance for the Occupy Atlanta protesters is over and he said no. But he also said if they come back to camp at any city parks, officers will arrest them.
Police arrested 53 Occupy protesters late Tuesday night, and police didn't even have to use mace.
"The police department, fire, emergency services did a model job in handling what was a real crisis," Reed said.
Atlanta did something many other cities could not; avoid violence.
Calif., officers in full riot gear used tear gas to respond to the demonstrators there. In Atlanta, protesters didn't provoke police and officers kept their cool.
"Atlanta has shown a way to be as tolerant as you possibly can. And not to have people miscalculate tolerance for weakness. Or lack of willingness to enforce our laws," Reed said.
Reed issued two executive orders to let Occupy Atlanta protesters camp in Woodruff Park for more than two weeks. He said a weekend concert that wasn't city approved and a man with an AK-47 assault rifle changed his plan.
"I think he did well. He was quite tolerant of the group," Georgia State University professor Harry K. Newman said.
Newman is a professor of public management and said Reed was in a tough spot, and will be again if the protesters return.
"These are some of the toughest calls an elected public official has to make," Newman said.
For Reed, going forward the decision is clear.
"The park hours are going to be what they are by ordinance, and anyone who violates that ordinance will be arrested," Reed said.
Reed went on to say that anyone who wants to protest peacefully during normal park hours is free to do so. Just don't look for any more executive orders.
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