November 4, 2011 11:27 AM
ATLANTA, Ga. (CBS Atlanta) Tomorrow, Woodruff Park will turn into something of a battlefield of principles as “Occupy Atlanta” protesters attempt to reclaim the space for their ongoing protests.
In the days leading up to the Nov. 5 reoccupation effort, online reports have surfaced claiming that “Occupy Atlanta” has enlisted the help of the religiously charged and oft-controversial Nation of Islam.
Representatives of the movement now deny these claims.
“We have not asked the Nation of Islam to provide protection for us,” Tim Franzen, spokesman for “Occupy Atlanta,” told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
Rumors of the collaboration began from within the “Occupy Atlanta” camp. In one such report by the Midtown Patch, movement representative Mandie Mitchell is credited directly with providing the information.
“I think that will make a huge difference,” protester David Smith added to the Midtown Patch on the matter.
Repeated attempts made by CBS Atlanta to speak with the Nation of Islam were not returned.
One thing is for sure – the group will be attempting to reclaim Woodruff Park at 8 p.m. tomorrow, using the First Amendment as their protection.
“Please note the (First) Amendment is valid 24 hours (a) day, seven days (a) week, in public spaces nationwide!” reads part of the event announcement on the “Occupy Atlanta” website.
The reoccupation is an attempt by the protesters to get the park back after Atlanta Police made a series of arrests on Oct. 26 that cleared out the crowds. In the meantime, protesters have been staying on the 4th floor of Peachtree and Pine.
If representatives from the Nation of Islam do attend tomorrow’s efforts, it will reportedly be of their own volition, and not due to any organized collaboration between the two groups.
“If they show up it’s because they chose to be there, not because we invited them,” said Franzen.