ATLANTA (Reuters) - Atlanta protesters from the “Occupy” movement against economic inequality will regroup and discuss plans for future demonstrations after 20 were arrested overnight, a protest spokeswoman said on Sunday.
Nineteen demonstrators were arrested for refusing to leave Woodruff Park in downtown Atlanta after its 11 p.m. closing time on Saturday night or for impeding Peachtree Street, a major downtown thoroughfare, or other nearby streets, the Atlanta Police Department had said in a statement on Sunday.
Police issued several warnings over a loudspeaker before making the arrests, they said.
“Additionally, a person assaulted a motorcycle officer who was attempting to patrol the area,” the police statement said. “That person was charged with aggravated assault and obstruction.”
Cailyn Nagle, a spokeswoman for the protesters, said the alleged assault of a police officer occurred after the officer struck a demonstrator with his motorcycle.
“A police officer accelerated his motorcycle into the crowd,” she said.
The protesters will “regroup” and discuss plans for future protests, Nagle said.
Dozens of demonstrators have been sleeping in a downtown homeless shelter since their eviction October 26 eviction from Woodruff Park, where they had been camping in tents for nearly three weeks.
Fifty-three demonstrators were arrested during that eviction for refusing to leave after the closing time.
Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed, who had originally told the protesters they could continue camping in the park until November 7, changed his mind, citing safety concerns such as propane heaters inside tents.
Reporting by David Beasley; Editing by Jerry Norton