Atlanta Rioters Were Not From Georgia

Atlanta Rioters Were Not From Georgia

( – A Georgia police chief says rioters who attacked cops and businesses in Atlanta last weekend weren’t from the state. Violent protests against a police training center have been happening for weeks, and one protester has already died. Georgia’s attorney general is now framing the dispute as out-of-state activists harming the interests of local people.

In 2021, the Atlanta City Council approved a new 85-acre police training center to replace the rundown former elementary school the Atlanta Police Department currently uses. The city will locate the new center in a forest in DeKalb County — and that’s sparked a confrontation with environmental activists, who are occupying the forest to disrupt building work.

Activists say the city had earmarked the land for an environmental project. The Atlanta Police Foundation says that the plan was never binding, and the training center is essential to improve the city’s cops’ professional preparation and make Atlanta safer for its residents.

On Wednesday, January 18, during the daily operation to remove protesters from the site, one of the activists drew a gun and shot a Georgia State Patrol trooper. Other officers returned fire, killing the activist.

Following the shooting more protesters swarmed the site, leading to several days of demonstrations that erupted into rioting over the weekend. Around 5 p.m. on Saturday, a group of activists “marched peacefully” until they reached downtown Atlanta, where they started smashing windows and attacking police vehicles. The protesters set a police car on fire, and police arrested six rioters.

Atlanta Mayor Andre Dickens (D) told journalists that some protesters had brought explosives with them. He said many aren’t from Georgia and “don’t represent the voices of Atlanta.” Georgia Governor Brian Kemp (R) also condemned the violence, saying violence and property damage are “not acts of protest. They are crimes,” and Georgia authorities won’t tolerate them in the state. Kemp has declared a state of emergency and activated 1,000 National Guard troops to restore law and order.

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