Sunday, a demonstration at the site of an Atlanta police training facility escalated into fights between police and demonstrators, leading to the arrest of 35 people, and the subsequent destruction of the construction site.
Protesters protest the Atlanta Public Safety Training Center, sometimes known as “Cop City,” and the development of the forest that its defenders term the “lungs of Atlanta,” leading to an intensifying confrontation at the site.
According to the website for the facility, the police and fire training centre is taking up 85 acres (34.4 hectares) of a city-owned 400-acre land in unincorporated DeKalb County. It is located inside the broader South River Forest, also called the Weelaunee Forest.
First, on Sunday, there was a music festival, which was part of a weeklong series of protests against the building. But, “agitators” allegedly donned black clothing, broke into the location, and began throwing bricks, rocks, Molotov bombs, and fireworks at police.
“The agitators’ illegal conduct could have led to serious injuries. During making arrests, police were careful not to use deadly force “The police claimed.
According to WSB-reporting, TV’s the thick plume of smoke could be seen for miles. Pictures posted online showed smoke and flames erupting from many locations on the property. Burning, massive machinery was depicted in one photograph.
Hundreds of people showed up to the festivities on Sunday, and WSB cited eyewitnesses who said a group of them left the performance to organise a protest.
Here is the tweet Reuters Police, protesters clash at site of Atlanta police center; 35 arrested.
Police, protesters clash at site of Atlanta police center; 35 arrested https://t.co/1NNbEtoVw2 pic.twitter.com/cQ8C9ZWEvh
— Reuters (@Reuters) March 6, 2023
A Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT) squad had been called to the scene, and the entire area had been placed under lockdown. According to WAGA television, reporters were able to put out the fire after it had already spread significantly.
Some who are against the site say they are trying to protect a vital piece of greenery in close proximity to the 6 million people that make up the larger Atlanta metropolitan region.
“We call on all people of good conscience to unite in solidarity with the effort to stop Cop City and save the Weelaunee Forest,” reads a statement on a website named Defend The Atlanta Forest.
Between March 4-11, the website advertised a variety of events, such as live music and woodland tours.
Atlanta police and other law enforcement agencies have announced a “multi-layered approach that involves reaction and arrest” in anticipation of additional activities in the coming days.
In January, a protest there turned violent for a short time, with participants smashing windows and setting a police car on fire. Protesters at the time met to voice their outrage about the death of an activist who had been killed by police during a raid to clear the construction site.
(Written and reported by Daniel Trotta; edited by Bradley Perrett and Edwina Gibbs)