DOWNTOWN: Lewis snub awkwardly lingers at Atlanta protest site | News
ATLANTA -- The message over the weekend represented a grab-bag of liberal causes, echoing issues raised in lookalike demonstrations from New York to the west coast.
The delivery had a curious call-and-response format that left some observers a bit puzzled.
"So I didn't quite understand it. I still don't understand it," said Congressman John Lewis of the format. When the civil rights pioneer showed up at Woodruff Park Friday evening, he expected to speak to the crowd. But the crowd, led by a man with a bullhorn, decided to make Lewis wait. Instead, Lewis left.
"I didn't feel slighted," Lewis said. "Because I went through the same activity, efforts, during my younger life."
Though Lewis was generous with his analysis, one man who says he helped organize the Woodruff Park encampment was not.
"(It's) a level of dis- and misinformation that is simply making the movement look not only unorganized, but stupid," said Joseph Hawley, who says he organized under the name Occupy ATL "And the backlash I've received has been disheartening."
By midday Monday, the number of tents at Woodruff Park had shrunk in the face of defection and rainfall and an impending work week. But those who stayed were mostly undeterred.
"Part of the reason we're here is rules have been bent toward politicians and bankers and we're frustrated about that," said Joe Diaz, a graduate student at Emory. "So it would have been very contradictory to the spirit of why we're here to once again bend the rules towards a poltician, even though he's a very special man."
City officials say the encampment has no permit to occupy Woodruff Park.