'Occupy Athens' faces hostile community

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ATHENS, Ga. — The ranks of the occupiers at the University of Georgia Arch dwindled to nothing for a while Saturday night, perhaps in part because of the regular abuse the protesters get from some passersby on busy weekend nights.

Pedestrians walk past a row of tents lining Broad Street near the University of Georgia Arch in downtown Athens. The tents belong to Occupy Athens demonstrators.   Richard Hamm/Morris News Service
Richard Hamm/Morris News Service
Pedestrians walk past a row of tents lining Broad Street near the University of Georgia Arch in downtown Athens. The tents belong to Occupy Athens demonstrators.

The last protester left shortly before 11 p.m. Saturday, driven off by a University of Georgia law student looking for an argument.

“I like Wall Street!” the law student told the lone occupier, a long-haired young man playing the didgeridoo, a native Australian wind instrument. “When Wall Street is doing well, everyone is doing well!”

“I don’t mean to be belligerent,” said the law student, whose breath smelled of bourbon, after he watched the protester walk quickly away cross Broad Street and fade into the downtown crowds.

“But any of these people could get a job. They could get one right over there,” he said earnestly, pointing to the Five Guys burger restaurant across Broad Street.

Such angry confrontations and even violence are on the rise at the Occupy Wall Street outpost in Athens, say some of the shifting group of people who make up the weekslong occupation. Students, retirees, unemployed workers, homeless people and people with jobs who sympathize are among those who have tried to keep the occupation going 24 hours a day at the Arch.

“We are encountering violence every hour,” said Gretchen Elsner, a freelance artist and designer wearing clothes she had designed and made herself as she held up a protest sign on Broad Street on Friday afternoon.

“I don’t know why people are so hostile to us. It’s not like I’m throwing Molotov cocktails or anything,” she said.

They hear “Get a job,” so often they started keeping a count, said Elsner, pointing to a board hung under the an awning on the sidewalk in front of UGA’s Hunter-Holmes Academic Building.

“That’s just today,” she said, pointing to a chalkboard with more than three-dozen marks under “Get a job.”

The hostility sometimes gets physical.

One night last week, Elsner saw one young woman, a drunk college student she thought, slap one of the female occupiers.

“I got kicked in the back of the head,” said occupier John Ahearn of Athens, who is looking for a job.

Some occupiers, including Ahearn, have been sleeping overnight in tents on the Athens side of the iron fence that divides UGA’s North Campus from downtown Athens. A few times, people walking by have kicked the tents and the people in them, Ahearn said.

And Nov. 11, the Friday night before the UGA-Auburn football game, someone slashed several of the occupiers’ tents, Ahearn and other Occupiers said.

The occupiers don’t always get abuse. Some people offer encouragement as they walk by, Elsner said shortly before a well-dressed man of about 50 stopped by Friday afternoon.

“I’m so thrilled with what y’all are doing,” the man said. “Don’t give up, don’t give in, just keep on going.”

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stillamazed
1488
Points
stillamazed 11/21/11 - 09:59 am
0
0
While I can agree that we put

While I can agree that we put value on the wrong things in this country especially with the way that people are paid, I still don't think you can take away from people who work hard to get somewhere in their lives. Do I think that the wealthiest people in this nation should give back? I certainly do, and not to some country overseas, I think they should give back right here at home. This occupy thing is and will not accomplish anything, they are wasting time and in some places creating very unsanitary environments, I think that it is time for all of them to move on, so to Ahearn and others add this to your count and get a job....

nothin2show4it
120
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nothin2show4it 11/21/11 - 10:00 am
0
0
Don't give up, don't give in,
Unpublished

Don't give up, don't give in, just keep on going. DC isn't that far from here. Keep walking.

hounddog
0
Points
hounddog 11/21/11 - 10:12 am
0
0
The occupiers are a bunch of
Unpublished

The occupiers are a bunch of moron losers.

Willow Bailey
20579
Points
Willow Bailey 11/21/11 - 10:42 am
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Even IF it were a noble

Even IF it were a noble calling; what does it accomplish? Absolutely nothing, but spending more taxpayer dollars. Go to work for your favorite candidate. Be solution oriented.

Brad Owens
4102
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Brad Owens 11/21/11 - 11:04 am
0
0
I agree that the arch

I agree that the arch criminals are the bankers and Wall Street crowds, the fact is, these folks do not have a chance and given the type of people it has attracted, is is doomed.

Political movements take hard work and dedication, I have not see much out of these guys except some sort of weird view that by doing nothing but to "occupy" space that some how they will change things?

I like the way this story is slanted by saying the law student was drunk.

There is non stated goals of OWS, no plan.

That is a waste of time in my opinion, but if it gives these folks self worth I say go ahead and do your thing, just know nothing will change.

Brad

Bruno
780
Points
Bruno 11/21/11 - 11:07 am
0
0
"“We are encountering

"“We are encountering violence every hour,” said Gretchen Elsner,". Telling you to get a job or get out of the park isn't violence. If you actually are encountering violence "every hour" then you should inform the police. You know, those guys in uniform that you have so much disdain for. As to the law student, he was exercising his 1st amendment rights just the same as the stoner with the didgeridoo.

pwren46
187
Points
pwren46 11/21/11 - 11:28 am
0
0
The fact is that these people

The fact is that these people are lobbying against me and the millions of other working Americans who own stock in America's companies and corporations. Wall Street is the place where stocks...owned by many of the "little people"...are bought and sold. It's my retirement fund!

I agree with Steve Forbes. If you want to protest, go to Washington and protest a broken congress that rewards those who have not excelled, made their own poor choices, and in many instances, just depend on government to provide unearned entitlements and handouts!

Little Lamb
43901
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Little Lamb 11/21/11 - 11:36 am
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Brad Owens wrote: That is a

Brad Owens wrote:

That is a waste of time in my opinion, but if it gives these folks self worth I say go ahead and do your thing, just know nothing will change.

Their schooling was all about lifting up their "self esteem" year in and year out. Well, they may have their self esteem, but they have no skills nor social graces to entice someone to hire them, and certainly no knowledge nor ambition to start up their own business.

55 F-100
1
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55 F-100 11/21/11 - 11:39 am
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0
The reason that the

The reason that the protesters are facing a hostile community is because they do not even know what they are protesting and are a general nuisance.

Black Mamba
0
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Black Mamba 11/21/11 - 11:40 am
0
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You can not be productive
Unpublished

You can not be productive squatting like bums in a park and running around in the streets chanting about "evil corporate greed".

What is the goal of the OWS movement? If it is to bring attention to the imbalance of wealth/power, mission accomplished. What next? The problem with this movement is that it was a good first step, but unless there is a second step, it's still camping masked by an ambiguous sociopolitical agenda. Squatting doesn't change the world. Education, productive involvement in society, and voting does.

My advise to the 'Occupiers' is, do what the 'Tea Party' people did. GET OUT AND VOTE!!!! Vote for people who have the same opinions as you do. All these things you are doing in the streets are only interfering with the people you think you are helping. Millionaires don't take the subway and most of them are not going into the office or seeing their broker (for the rich the broker goes to them). You know what you want but don't know how to get it. Well vote in someone that knows and has the power to get it. In 2008 you voted and we got a Democratic President, in 2010 you didn't vote and look what happened to Congress. All you guys are doing is making the news media very happy and when your not on the street and not in the news, in a week you won't be on anyone's mind. Voting is the most effective protest (out with the trash and in with better ideas)!

willie7
918
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willie7 11/21/11 - 12:15 pm
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0
The Occupiers are planting
Unpublished

The Occupiers are planting the seeds and a revolt will grow from those seeds. Most revolutions start out like the Occupiers are doing; no particular issues because they don't want to offend anyone. Revolutions grow without a special cause. We better listen to them; they are young, educated, and leaderless.

Vito45
-2
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Vito45 11/21/11 - 12:19 pm
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Good advice Black Mamba. We

Good advice Black Mamba. We just need to start swapping out the career politicians in Washington if there is to be change. The vast majority would sell their mama to stay in power, and that is the problem.

Dixieman
12947
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Dixieman 11/21/11 - 12:33 pm
0
0
Don't slap, punch or argue

Don't slap, punch or argue with them. Just ignore them and walk on by. They will go back to Mommy and Daddy's house when the weather gets cold.

Brad Owens
4102
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Brad Owens 11/21/11 - 01:21 pm
0
0
willie7 has a point, what

willie7 has a point, what will we do when a leader with ideas and a plan help them find their way?

Hitler started out with 12 and look what happened.

allhans
23288
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allhans 11/21/11 - 01:23 pm
0
0
willie7..Did you mean to say

willie7..Did you mean to say this?
"...particular issues because they don't want to offend anyone. .."

Really. Do you have any idea how many have already been offended by these occupiers who have kept them from their jobs, their homes, their children? Good grief.

Little Lamb
43901
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Little Lamb 11/21/11 - 01:23 pm
0
0
Come Friday there will be a

Come Friday there will be a lot more people occupying Wal-Mart than Wall Street.

allhans
23288
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allhans 11/21/11 - 01:35 pm
0
0
Little Lamb. I hear that a

Little Lamb. I hear that a protest has started protesting black Friday now.

harley_52
22211
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harley_52 11/21/11 - 01:46 pm
0
0
willie7 is correct in what is

willie7 is correct in what is being seeded and why.

It's all part of a broader plan and it's well into the execution phase.

SCEagle Eye
874
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SCEagle Eye 11/21/11 - 01:52 pm
0
0
Thanks to the occupy movement

Thanks to the occupy movement for pointing out the increasing concentration of wealth at the very top. When will the politicians go home and stop backing a system that transfers our wealth to the top? This socialism for the wealthy must be terminated.

Chillen
17
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Chillen 11/21/11 - 01:52 pm
0
0
Regular Americans are sick of

Regular Americans are sick of these hippie-wanna-be's wasting our tax money and polluting our cities & towns.

Occupy Wall Street has been taken over by radicals, communists & union mob bosses. It is no longer a viable cause.

harley_52
22211
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harley_52 11/21/11 - 01:54 pm
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Little Lamb said "Their

Little Lamb said "Their schooling was all about lifting up their "self esteem" year in and year out. Well, they may have their self esteem, but they have no skills nor social graces to entice someone to hire them, and certainly no knowledge nor ambition to start up their own business."

The OWS participants shouldn't be identified as a single group with a single purpose, they clearly are not.

The group you mention does exist, but they are in the minority. They are the useful idiots who can be (and have been) used to disguise the real purpose of the movement which is to form the basis of a social revolution here in the USA. This movement is intended to become exactly what Karl Marx and others predicted would be the end of Capitalism and the beginning of socialism/communism in a society.

And these personal qualities you attribute to the useful idiots are what they are on purpose, not by accident.

Little Lamb
43901
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Little Lamb 11/21/11 - 01:55 pm
0
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The devil is in the details,

The devil is in the details, EagleEye. Could you outline a simple plan to make it happen here on the comments page?

3M3T1B
7
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3M3T1B 11/21/11 - 02:27 pm
0
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@ Brad Owens - Hitler?

@ Brad Owens - Hitler? Really? Everyone's gonna have some bad ideas or do things you don't agree with but until they decide to kill 6,000,000+ people for having "inferior genes" let's hold off on the Hitler comparisons. Furthermore, one could substitute "Jesus" for "Hitler" in your statement and turn the whole argument around.

Willow Bailey
20579
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Willow Bailey 11/21/11 - 02:35 pm
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0
yakriz, the students at GA

yakriz, the students at GA are some of the brightest minds in America.
They are focused with a work and study ethic. The OWS crowds looks exactly the opposite...lazy, clueless, slackers. What are they accomplishing? Besides being an utter disgrace, costing taxpayers millions, that's all.

Good for Athens! And good for Governor Haley!

yakirz
9
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yakirz 11/21/11 - 02:45 pm
0
0
Unlike you, I don't base
Unpublished

Unlike you, I don't base people's worth on their work ethic or their productivity. There's far more to life, and there's nothing wrong with slacking a good bit of the time.

They're accomplishing the feat of focusing attention on how off-course the U.S. is heading. They're showing the "authorities" as being the mindless, criminal fascists we knew they were.

I've been to Athens, I've seen brighter minds in the flea market... and the governor of Georgia is Deal, not Haley. What was that about UGA brilliance?

Vito45
-2
Points
Vito45 11/21/11 - 02:49 pm
0
0
"there's nothing wrong with

"there's nothing wrong with slacking a good bit of the time."

Cool! Just feed, clothe, and house yourself, and I won't care a whit. Come after what I've honestly earned though and we have a problem.

yakirz
9
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yakirz 11/21/11 - 02:52 pm
0
0
What you've earned is an
Unpublished

What you've earned is an illusion, as is the idea we're separate at all.

Vito45
-2
Points
Vito45 11/21/11 - 03:08 pm
0
0
Ok, tell my investment manger

Ok, tell my investment manger he is managing an illusion. My wife will be glad to know she is driving a $xxK illusion, and we just paid that builder way to much for just an illusion of a new house. Dang, I need to wake up from this dream.

yakirz
9
Points
yakirz 11/21/11 - 03:01 pm
0
0
It *is* a dream.
Unpublished

It *is* a dream.

yakirz
9
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yakirz 11/21/11 - 03:04 pm
0
0
Have you ever been "asleep"
Unpublished

Have you ever been "asleep" and driven a car? Where did it come from? Who's to say you're not still driving it, but while you sleep you're at a job or posting online?

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