Occupy Atlanta signs and tents in Woodruff Park
ATLANTA -- Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed signed an executive order late Wednesday afternoon, allowing protesters to remain in downtown Atlanta's Woodruff Park through next Monday.
At a news conference Wednesday afternoon, Reed said he sympathizes with the protesters, and given Atlanta's reputation as the cradle of the modern civil rights movement, it would not sit well if the protesters were removed from the park in the week prior to the opening of the Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial in Washington, which is set for Sunday.
RELATED: Full Occupy Atlanta/Occupy Wall Street coverage
RELATED: Reed responds to protesters
RELATED: Lewis snub awkwardly remains at protest site
Reed said there had been a lot of complaints from downtown area residents about the protesters, and particularly about noise past 11 p.m.
Tim Franzen, spokesperson for the Occupy Atlanta group holding court in Woodruff Park said in a news conference earlier in the day on Wednesday, the group understands and acknowledges the noise complaints, and that they would work to be more quiet after 11 p.m.
Franzen said the group, which does not have a permit to remain in the park, has no plans to leave. He said they are ready to "lay our bodies down" for their cause.
When asked if some of the protesters were intent on being arrested, Mayor Reed said it may come to that, but he wants any arrests to be as peaceful and non-violent as possible.
Reed said the city's attorney was of the opinion that he had the power to do this by executive order, which supersedes any city ordinances tied to the group's occupation of the park.
Atlanta city councilman Michael Julian Bond said a number of his constituents have complained about the presence of the protesters. He told 11Alive's Paul Crawley Wednesday that while he appreciates and sympathizes with the protesters, their point has been made.
"There are still laws that have to be obeyed and a process that has to take place," the councilman said.
Bond did not indicate a time frame on how soon he thought the protesters should leave.
Mayor Reed said he is going to ask the protesters to allow city workers to come into park on Thursday in order to clean up the area. Some area of the park have turned into a muddy quagmire.
The Occupy Atlanta protesters have been in Woodruff Park, night and day, since last Friday.