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Former mayor leads protest of beer festival in Macon park named for civil rights icon

Former Macon Mayor C. Jack Ellis led a group of about a dozen protesters Friday who are upset about a planned beer festival in a city park named for a civil rights icon.

The Just Tap’d Craft Beer Festival is 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday at Rosa Parks Square on First Street.

“This is a place for peace, to reflect, and to depict justice. That’s what we’re trying to do here,” Ellis said holding up artist renderings of the park from when it was in its planning phase.

“Rosa Parks gave birth to the civil rights movement … We care about Rosa Parks … We care about her legacy,” said Ellis, who during his tenure as mayor worked with Rosa Parks’ estate to have the park named for her. “We were the first city in the country to do that,” he added.

Ellis was asked about what he’s done before the protest to address the kinds of events that are held in the park.

“This is not a knee-jerk reaction,” he said. “They (county officials) were aware of our concerns. The mayor (Robert Reichert) was in attendance when we expressed our displeasure going forward to have these activities in Rosa Parks square. So what they’ve said to us is that they either didn’t hear us or they don’t give a damn.”

Another Macon activist, George Fadil Muhammad, was also at the protest. “This is a place of dignity. Not drunkenness,” he said.

Chris Floore, spokesman for Macon Mayor Robert Reichert, said the size of the park was doubled in 2012 to make it more inviting for people to gather and see Macon’s memorial to Parks.

“This type of event is allowed,” Floore said about the beer festival. “They (beer festival organizers) obtained all of the approvals.”

Floor said that Ellis has talked with Reichert and addressed Bibb commissioners in the past about the types of events he believes should and should not be allowed at the park.

© 2017 WMAZ-TV

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