The Atlanta Tea Party has inquired on several occasions about securing city venues like Woodruff Park to hold rallies for conservative activists. Because of the the fees involved, and extensive bureaucratic red tape regarding the permit process, we decided to hold past events at the State Capitol instead. We were also told by Capitol Police we could not have signs on poles or sticks, or not allowed to even pass out little flags to wave, because they were held up by sticks. We complied, as we have always followed the letter of the law and conducted ourselves with honor of our City, State, and Country.
Occupy Atlanta has had control of Woodruff Park for the past weeks with no permit, no fees, the use of poles and sticks to hold some signs and their tents, and a disregard for public health with the conditions they are living in at the Park. Had Tea Party activists conducted themselves like Occupy protesters, they would have been arrested immediately, but Mayor Kasim Reed rewarded their disregard for the law with an Executive Order allowing them to stay, stating that he sympathizes with them. The Mayor has chosen to grant special rights and privileges regarding free speech based on which group is in line with his own political ideology. This action by Mayor Reed has set a precedent that has a profound and chilling effect on the First Amendment rights of not only conservative activists, but of all citizens.
The Atlanta Tea Party is planning a rally in the spring and we will seek to use a City venue. If equal rights are not shown and if we are denied, or forced to go through an extensive permit process and pay any fees whatsoever, we will file a discrimination law suit against the City of Atlanta.