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Environmental Activists Reoccupy Atlanta Forest

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After protests Monday over the building of “Cop City,” Atlanta Police Chief Darin Schierbaum blamed protesters for the police violence, stating that marchers were there to provoke officers. 

During the protest, more than 400 people marched toward the proposed Atlanta-area police and firefighter training center, chanting “Stop Cop City.” Some protesters whore masks, goggles and chemical suits, anticipating the use of tear gas by police. 

According to AP, Police agencies including the DeKalb County Police Department and Georgia state troopers were guarding the site, including armored vehicles.

Sure enough, police used tear gas and flash-bang grenades to stop protesters from reaching the training site. 

Although police did a majority of the violence, that didn’t stop Chief Schierbaum from pointing the finger at protesters, whom he called provocateurs. 

“This is not a group that has the best interests of Atlanta at heart, said Schierbaum. “This is a group today that left Gresham Park prepared to reach the site, prepared to do harm, prepared to do destruction.”

Protesters pushed back saying they had no intention of violence, just civil disobedience.

“The police continue to show themselves to be a group that is weaponized against the larger public, particularly the larger public that has the nerve to protest against police violence and police actions,” Kamau Franklin of Community Movement Builders, told AP.

In June, the Atlanta City Council voted to approve funding for constructing an 85-acre police and firefighter training center, coined “Cop City” by the project’s opposition.

The massive police training facility will be located in a majority-Black area of DeKalb County and is a major concern for activists who say the project is a gross misuse of funds and could lead to greater militarization of the cops who police Black and brown faces.

Since plans to build “Cop City” were announced in 2021, massive protests have erupted in response to the project. 

In January, massive protests erupted in Downtown Atlanta in response to plans for the new police training facility and the shooting death of a local activist earlier this week. Several protesters were arrested.

Just days before January’s protests, 26-year-old environmental activist Manuel Esteban Paez Teran was gunned down near the site of the approved facility. The shooting occurred during a clearing operation, and protesters have been camping out in the area to halt construction.

On July 27, the social and civil justice groups sent a letter to the DHS demanding that the department change its “domestic violence extremism label” for protesters. They also urged for the agency to review its standards for “collecting and disseminating information” about those involved in the ongoing fight to stop “Cop City.”

An environmental organization has also sued the City Of Atlanta over “Cop City.”


‘Cop City’: Civil Rights Groups Urge DHS To Review ‘Extremism’ Label For Protesters

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