Protesters occupy home facing foreclosure

Protesters occupy home facing foreclosure November 11, 2011

This is a story about a police officer and protesters organizing in the Occupy movement. And it doesn’t involve pepper spray.

Zaid Jilani of Think Progress reports, “Occupy Atlanta Encamps In Neighborhood To Save Police Officer’s Home From Foreclosure“:

Last week, Tawanna Rorey’s husband, a police officer based in Gwinnett County, e-mailed Occupy Atlanta to explain that his home was going to be foreclosed on and his family was in danger of being evicted on Monday. So within a few hours Occupy Atlanta developed an action plan to move to Snellville, Georgia on Monday to stop the foreclosure. At least two dozen protesters encamped on the family’s lawn, to the applause of neighbors and bystanders:

Nearly two dozen protesters assembled Monday afternoon at Tawanna Rorey’s four-bedroom home in a neighborhood just south of Snellville, clogging the narrow, winding street that runs in front of the house with cars, vans and TV trucks. Many neighbors stopped to gawk at the spectacle and even honked their car horns in support of the crowd. […] [The protesters] set up two tents in the front yard, draped a “This Home is Occupied” sign over the porch railing and handed out bottled water and granola bars to other members.

The Sheriff’s Department did not come to evict the Roreys that day. A spokesman for the department told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution that the foreclosure process is still ongoing and that it has not scheduled an eviction. “It’s a good cause,” said Diona Murray, one of the Roreys’ neighbors, about the occupation. “If we don’t take a stand, who will?”

The family of five was evicted yesterday, the Journal-Constitution’s Joel Anderson reports, after the local sheriff threatened to arrest the family unless the Occupy protesters left the property:

Occupy Atlanta vowed to intensify their fight against foreclosures Thursday, hours after a family of five was evicted from a south Gwinnett home where several protesters congregated this week.

Some demonstrators have shifted their attention to suburban communities after a month spent staging protests  in downtown Atlanta against Wall Street’s influence in U.S. politics. Occupy Atlanta said it’s now hopes to bring attention to the foreclosure crisis.

“We’ve shined a light on injustice,” said Tim Franzen, one of the group’s organizers. “The Rorey family is a symbol of what’s happening all over this country.”

The Roreys were evicted Thursday from their four-bedroom home just south of Snellville. Minutes before about a dozen protesters gathered in front of the Gwinnett Justice and Administration Center in Lawrenceville to decry threats they said Gwinnett Sheriff Butch Conway made to the family.

Franzen said the Rorey family was willing to allow the demonstrators to stay, but the group left because they didn’t want to risk anyone in the family going to jail.

Franzen said Conway told Tawanna Rorey and her husband, a law enforcement officer with DeKalb County, that he would have them arrested for being accessories to trespassers.

If this becomes the next big wave of Occupy protests — fighting foreclosures house-by-house, then I can’t see the protesters losing the battle for public opinion, even if they don’t always defeat a particular foreclosure effort. This action makes it clear what side they’re on and what they’re for. And whose side they’re on and who they’re for. Even the tea partiers — who, remember, were originally organized in a backlash driven by envy and a seething resentment against the idea that homeowners facing foreclosure might receive any form of assistance — can’t forever sustain the crabs-in-a-bucket indignation it would take to side with the fraudulent banksters on this issue.

Occupy Atlanta and Occupy Gwinett say they’re looking to repeat this tactic elsewhere in the region. As the Snellville Patch reports, they won’t have to look far:

On the Roreys’ street alone, six homes of 24 are in foreclosure proceedings. … Georgia remains in the top ten of states’ foreclosure rates, according to a November 10 report by market researcher RealtyTrac. Nationwide, there was an increase of 7 percent in October over the previous month in foreclosure filings, which includes default notices, scheduled auctions and bank repossessions.

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