Protesters deliver petition following clash with police at proposed Atlanta "Cop City" site
ATLANTA (WUPA) – A clash with police at the site of the future Atlanta Public Safety Training Center on Sunday landed nearly two dozen protesters in jail with domestic terrorism charges.
After a press conference on Monday and before delivering a petition to the Atlanta City Council, members of the Stop Cop City movement and Defend the Atlanta Forest marched outside Atlanta City Hall.
The groups, which represent several organizations and protesters who oppose the construction of the training center, are demanding that the city rescind the permits allowing it to move forward. The press conference had been previously planned as part of the Defend the Atlanta Forest, Stop Cop City Week of Action, which began on Saturday, March 4.
Their latest set of demands came after 23 protesters, mostly from out of state, were arrested at the site on Sunday evening.
Officials said video released by Atlanta Police showed the protesters throwing rocks and Molotov cocktails at law enforcement personnel and damaging construction equipment.
"This wasn't about the Atlanta Public Safety Training Center, this was about anarchy, and this was about an attempt to destabilize," said APD Chief Darin Schierbaum. "Actions such as this will not be tolerated. When you attack law enforcement officers, you damage equipment, you are breaking the law. This was a very violent attack that occurred this evening, a very violent attack."
Several organizers admitted that, as of Monday afternoon, they had not seen the video that was released by police.
"If any would have responded to police in that way, they must have been in fear for their lives, and when people are in fear for their lives, we see they have a license to kill, especially if they have a badge, a gun, and taser," said Rev. Keyanna Jones, a member of the Faith Coalition to Stop Cop City.
Demonstrators are blaming police for the killing of activist Manuel Paez Teran, also known as "Tortuguita," during an operation to remove protestors from the site in January. They are calling on authorities to investigate Teran's death, and they are also demanding police drop the charges against the protesters who have been arrested.
"The lands and the people of Atlanta have suffered violence for too long. We say, 'No More,'" said Rev. Leo Seyij Allen, a Baptist minister.
The Week of Action continues through Monday, March 13, and includes additional protests, a festival, and other events.
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