ATLANTA (Reuters) - Police evicted dozens of protesters from a downtown Atlanta park early Wednesday and arrested 53 people who refused to leave the demonstration against economic inequality.
Police entered Woodruff Park just after midnight after two warnings to demonstrators they would have to leave, Mayor Kasim Reed said in a statement. He called the demonstrators ''increasingly aggressive'' but said the arrests were made without incident. [See photos of the "Occupy" protests.]
The action came hours after police in Oakland, California, scuffled with demonstrators late Tuesday as more than 1,000 people marched on city hall to voice anger over scores of arrests at an ``Occupy Wall Street'' camp there. [See a collection of political cartoons on the economy.]
The protest movement was launched more than a month ago as Occupy Wall Street in New York. Demonstrators are angry at government bailouts of big banks, persistent high unemployment, and economic inequality in the United States. Demonstrations have spread across the nation and overseas and hundreds of arrests have been made New York and other U.S. cities.
Atlanta demonstrators had been camping in the park for nearly three weeks. Reed said last week the protesters could stay in the park until Nov. 7, but changed his mind over the weekend after protesters tried to hold a concert without plans for adequate security or crowd control. [Read about 7 groups with reason to protest.]
``Last week, demonstrators inserted wire hangers into electrical sockets to create additional power sources,'' Reed said in his statement. ``A number of other fire code violations occurred, including repeated storage of propane heaters and twenty-gallon propane tanks inside tents.''
The mayor said he had other safety concerns as the number of tents in the park increased to more than 75.
The group vowed to continue its protest with an anti-war march Wednesday. Sara Amis, a spokeswoman for Occupy Atlanta, criticized the crackdown and said the encampment was safe.