Occupy Wall Street, an offshoot of which has roosted in almost every major U.S. city, generally sets up camp near the center of large metropolitan areas. Now it has occupied the front lawn of a small home in suburban Atlanta.
OWS protesters’ demands encompass a number of issues, including income inequality and corporate accountability, ever-increasing student debt, and the lack of jobs. But now, in what appears to be a first, Occupy Atlanta has camped out at a home in an attempt to prevent a foreclosure on the property and to raise awareness about the country’s gloomy housing sector.
According to the protesters, Tawanna Rorey of Snellville, Ga., is at risk of being evicted from her home after she had trouble paying her mortgage and tried to get a loan modification. The authorities say the foreclosure process is ongoing and no eviction is scheduled.
But no matter – the protesters are going on day 5 of camping out in the Rorey’s front lawn, where they’ve hung signs that say “This Home is Occupied” and pledging not to let marshals in to evict the family.
The issue of foreclosures is one of the biggest drags on the stumbling economy. About 2.1 million homes are currently in foreclosure or have seriously delinquent mortgages. In fact, the backlog of foreclosure sales is so big that it will take an estimated eight years to clear them.
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It’s likely that if officials do come to evict the family, the occupiers could be removed as trespassers. But Occupy Atlanta is looking beyond any short-term police action.
“What I envision is a model of protest coming out of this,” Tim Franzen, one of Occupy Atlanta’s organizers, told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “We plan to develop an occupy community in this neighborhood and maybe create something that can be duplicated nationally.”