After being detained after bloody altercations between police and demonstrators at a police training center construction site, authorities said on Monday that two dozen persons in Atlanta are now facing domestic terrorism charges.
The 23 persons who face charges were among a group of people apprehended by police on Sunday after they allegedly broke into the construction site where a new Atlanta Public Safety Training Center is being built and fired bricks, rocks, Molotov bombs, and fireworks at cops.
Only two of the individuals mentioned on the website of the Atlanta Police Department are Georgia natives. The remaining people came from various states, including three from Wisconsin and two from Massachusetts. According to authorities, one person is from Canada and the other is from France.
The DeKalb County District Attorney’s office was unable for comment at the time of publication, so it is unknown if any of the individuals have been legally charged.
The City of Atlanta Police Department produced surveillance camera footage of the incident, which looked to show police officers attempting to shut a gate while fireworks were exploding all around them. Other videos showed demonstrators hurling rocks over a fence, the scene having many small flames going, and major construction equipment being set on fire.
Governor Brian Kemp stated in a statement on Monday, “We will not rest until those who utilize violence and intimidation for an extremist aim are brought to full justice.
Opponents have mockingly referred to the location as “Cop City,” and there have been rising clashes there as protesters oppose both the militarization of the police and the development of the woodland that its defenders refer to as the “lungs of Atlanta.”
According to the facility’s website, the police and fire training center is being constructed on 85 acres (34.4 hectares) of a 400-acre plot of land held by the city in unincorporated DeKalb County.
The broader South River Forest, also called the Weelaunee Forest, contains it. The site’s opponents claim they wish to protect a significant green space close to the 6 million-person greater Atlanta metropolitan area.
A music festival that was a part of a week of protests against the construction and in favor of police reforms kicked off the activities on Sunday. The events on Sunday drew hundreds of spectators, and after the music, several people left to form a protest.
Atlanta police stated that they and other law-enforcement agencies have a “multi-layered approach that includes reaction and arrest” with additional operations planned in the coming days.
In January, there was a demonstration at the site that briefly descended into violence when protesters set a police car on fire and broke building windows. At that time, protesters gathered to voice their opposition to the police killing an activist during a raid to remove the construction site.