Tense, peaceful standoff with troopers in Atlanta ends early Saturday
ATLANTA - A group of protestors engaged in a standoff with Georgia state troopers for hours Friday night. The protest ended peacefully early Saturday morning as crowds slowly dispersed in the overnight hours.
The drawn-out standoff began after an earlier protest in and around Centennial Olympic Park ended, and a group marched to Williams Street near the Downtown Connector. State troopers gathered in force to form a line to keep the protestors from marching onto the highway.
The standoff began soon after the March for Justice ended at Centennial Olympic Park around 8 p.m. Friday and at times became tense as a wall of Georgia State Troopers stood their ground by not allowing protesters onto the Downtown Connector.
SKYFOX 5 flew over the scene. A thin blue line of troopers held back the sea of protesters from entering the busy interstate.
Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed went to the scene of the protest to talk with demonstrators. Mayor Reed said he wanted to show respect to respectful, peaceful protesters, but he demanded that they not take the freeway, saying that "Dr. King would not take the freeway.”
"We're going to get through this together in the spirit of Dr. King," Reed said.
Day turned into night and the group began to disperse into a more disorganized fashion, but there have been no reports of damage, injuries or arrests.
Traffic around parts of the downtown area was blocked at times Friday night because of the protesters.