Tea Party wants same treatment as Occupy Atlanta

Local Tea Party organizers are threatening to sue the city of Atlanta, saying Mayor Kasim Reed has given special treatment to Occupy Atlanta protesters.

Atlanta Tea Party co-founder Julianne Thompson told Channel 2 Action News that the group, which supports limited taxes and reduced government deficits, has made a request in writing after being denied permission to hold an event downtown because city officials said there was too much red tape and cost involved.

"I think it's very sad that in the city of Atlanta, we seem to have a mayor who picks and chooses who receives special rights regarding free speech -- based on his political ideology," Thompson told Channel 2.

Debbie Dooley, national coordinator of the Tea Party Patriots, told the AJC that the group had inquired about renting Woodruff Park or Centennial Olympic park but had decided against it due to fees, red tape and restrictions.

If Tea Party members had used civil disobedience, "we would have been removed and arrested," Dooley said.

"We feel like the mayor is selectively deciding who can use the parks," she said.

The Tea Party members say Reed should grant them a special executive order -- as he did for Occupy Atlanta  -- allowing an outdoor event last past 11 p.m.

Reed gave a brief response Tuesday. "I think we'll handle it on a case-by-case basis," he said.

AJC staff writer Craig Schneider contributed to this article.