Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed's protest performance draws praise

Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed's decision to wade into the thousands of protesters Friday night to quell what could have been a gutty moment in the demonstration stirred praise from an unlikely source: Some of Georgia's top Republicans.

The two-term Democratic mayor, a potential candidate for higher office, stood before a pocket of protesters who were in a standoff with police near the Downtown Connector to urge them to stay off the highway.

"We hear this generation's concern, and the protest tonight, but we're going to have to do it in a King-ian fashion," Reed told the knot of demonstrators, part of a gathering of about 10,000 calling for justice after a tumultuous week. "We're going to have to make sure that people remain safe, and I simply ask that people don't get on the expressways."

The mayor's speech, coupled with the calls from the local NAACP chapter to stand down, soon prompted the crowd to disperse. Of the more than 10,000 demonstrators, only three arrests were made.

Though it wasn't quite an Ivan Allen moment - the former mayor memoraby jumped atop a police car with a bullhorn to try to calm a 1966 riot - it seemed a decisive event in Friday's demonstration. Republican kudos came pouring in:

From Paul Bennecke, the executive director of the Republican Governors Association and a top adviser to Sen. David Perdue:

From conservative pundit Jon Richards, a prominent Georgia critic of Donald Trump:

From Chris Riley, Gov. Nathan Deal's chief of staff and an ally of Hizzoner:

From Julianne Thompson, a former co-chair of the Atlanta Tea Party and a conservative activist:

From state Sen. Josh McKoon, a Columbus Republican at odds with the mayor over the "religious liberty" measure:

David Werner, Deal's chief operating officer, also seems to have found his VP pick:

Here's a snippet of what the mayor said:

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About the Author

Greg Bluestein
Greg Bluestein
Greg Bluestein is a political reporter who covers the governor's office and state politics for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.