The future Atlanta Public Safety Training Center, dubbed “Cop City” by radical leftists, was set on fire Sunday evening as Antifa terrorists violently attacked the facility and clashed with police officers resulting in 35 being arrested.
(Video Credit: Fox 5 Atlanta)
Smoke and flames could be seen pouring out of equipment at the site as Fox 5 Atlanta showed a bulldozer and other pieces of equipment ablaze. SWAT arrived on the scene as night fell. As the incident was contained, many of the protesters scattered into the woods.
A large number of law enforcement officials descended on the area after the protest began around 5:30 pm. Georgia State Troopers used their squad cars to block people from entering the site.
During the encounter with hundreds of protesters, at least one Molotov cocktail was thrown, according to Fox 5 Atlanta. A reporter with the media outlet thought they heard shots just before 8 pm but have not confirmed it.
This is just the latest protest following the City Council’s approval of $90 million for the training center in 2021.
UPDATE: Multiple law enforcement agencies have locked down Key Road SE while officers secure the site that has been referred to as “Cop City” by @defendATLforest / #StopCopCity protesters. Protesters held a rally nearby at 5PM and began to march toward the area currently under… https://t.co/YRsJGUUeQF pic.twitter.com/OcKhRJTVTa
— Billy Heath III (@BillyHeathFOX5) March 6, 2023
“Treetop Antifa” opposes the facility. They call themselves “forest defenders” and assert that “Cop City” will cause the loss of trees and damage the environment. They also oppose spending money on anything related to law enforcement and claim the project will be used to practice “urban warfare.” Protesters have been camping out at the site since June 2021.
At least 19 people have been arrested since December. They have been charged with domestic terrorism in connection to violent protests against the training facility for Atlanta’s police and fire department. The new facility is set to be constructed on 85 acres in southwestern DeKalb County on the site of a former prison farm.
On Jan. 21, there was a riot in downtown Atlanta where six of the 19 that have been arrested were taken into custody. That altercation was sparked by the fatal shooting of a 26-year-old environmental activist named Manuel Esteban Paez Teran by Georgia State Patrol after he shot an officer in the abdomen. Law enforcement had responded to “Cop City” to clear protesters from the site.
Teran identified as non-binary and also went by the name Tortuguita.
Days after Teran’s death, protesters set a squad car on fire, threw rocks at police, and lit fireworks in front of a skyscraper in downtown Atlanta that houses the Atlanta Police Foundation.
BREAKING: @Atlanta_Police released the footage of the violent #Antifa @defendATLforest attack on police & the construction site of the Public Safety Training Center. The attackers are masked, & they came with explosive fireworks & firebombs. The officers https://t.co/s9iLQWowj1… https://t.co/yT6tFnrdBZ pic.twitter.com/C0mtL4MRQw
— Andy Ngô ️ (@MrAndyNgo) March 6, 2023
The Defend the Atlanta Forest collective issued a statement after the arrests asserting, “It’s important to note that the 35 people that police arrested tonight were not ‘violent agitators,’ but peaceful concertgoers who were nowhere near the demonstration.”
It's important to note that the the 35 people that police arrested tonight were not "violent agitators," but peaceful concert goers who were nowhere near the demonstration. https://t.co/ULx8uh9fSf
— Defend the Atlanta Forest (@defendATLforest) March 6, 2023
“This is not a protest,” APD officials remarked at a press conference Sunday night. “This wasn’t about a public training center; this was about anarchy.”
(Video Credit: 11Alive)
The Atlanta Police Department released a statement on the altercation, “On March 5, 2023, a group of violent agitators used the cover of a peaceful protest of the proposed Atlanta Public Safety Training Center to conduct a coordinated attack on construction equipment and police officers. They changed into black clothing and entered the construction area and began to throw large rocks, bricks, Molotov cocktails, and fireworks at police officers.”
“The agitators destroyed multiple pieces of construction equipment by fire and vandalism. Multiple law enforcement agencies deployed to the area and detained several people committing illegal activity. 35 agitators have been detained so far,” the press release continued. “The illegal actions of the agitators could have resulted in bodily harm. Officers exercised restraint and used non-lethal enforcement to conduct arrests.”
“With protests planned for the coming days, the Atlanta Police Department, in collaboration with law enforcement partners, have a multi-layered strategy that includes reaction and arrest,” the statement announced. “The Atlanta Police Department asks for this week’s protests to remain peaceful.”
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