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MIDTOWN | Occupy Atlanta protesters arrested at AT&T building | News

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MIDTOWN | Occupy Atlanta protesters arrested at AT&T building
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ATLANTA (WXIA) -- About a dozen people associated with Occupy Atlanta were arrested after the group moved into the lobby level of the AT&T Midtown Center at 675 West Peachtree Street in Midtown Monday.

Police said "about a dozen" people had been arrested, while Occupy Atlanta members said the number was exactly 12 people taken into custody.

According to Occupy leader Tim Franzen, his group and union members of the Communications Workers of America are refusing to leave the lobby of the building, and are setting up tents outside.

About 50 to 70 people were gathered outside the midtown skyscraper, and about 15 tents were being set up on the plaza outside the building.

Franzen told 11Alive's Paul Crawley that they are not planning to leave until AT&T rehires up to 700 people recently layed off from the communications giant.

AT&T issued a statement Monday afternoon that said, in part:

"In the last six months we have hired more than 2,600 U-verse technicians and retail employees in our Southeast region, including more than 400 in Georgia; and we are currently hiring over 1,000 more in the region, including nearly 200 in Georgia.

At the same time, the shift in our business as more consumers disconnect their home wireline access is driving a shift in our employee base, and we are eliminating some jobs in our declining wireline business."

The statement suggested the numbers the protesters were citing were inaccurate. AT&T says the number of people layed off was "closer to 550 in the region, less than one-fifth the number of people we've hired in the region in the last six months."

AT&T says nearly all the people layed off have been offered other company positions for which they are qualified.

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