Stop Cop City protests continue in Atlanta

Stop Cop City, Atlanta, Environmental Activism
Environmental activists hold a rally and a march through the Atlanta Forest, a preserved forest Atlanta that is scheduled to be developed as a police training center, March 4, 2023 in Atlanta, Georgia. Intent upon stopping the building of what they have called cop city, the environmentalists were evicted from the forest in January, resulting in the killing by police of Manuel Teran, a young activist and medic. Photo credit Andrew Lichtenstein/Corbis via Getty Images

With shouts of "Stop Cop City, Shut It Down" and "Hey Hey Ho Ho Andre Dickens Has Got To Go" throngs of protesters marched in Atlanta Thursday night.

The group is opposed to the planned Atlanta Police Training Center to be built in a wooded area of DeKalb County. At one point they shouted "Cop City Will Never Be Built!"

Police on foot, in cars, and motorcycles were on the street. "Those white vans are full of cops" protesters were heard to say, believing that police were being transported in vehicles and would "jump out" and arrest them if given the opportunity. In an effort to avoid being approached by police, protesters were told to march on sidewalks rather than in the streets.

Thursday's march started with speeches outside the King Center and then made its way to the Atlanta Police Foundation about a mile away. The building had been boarded up apparently in anticipation of the arrival of the protesters.

cop city, Atlanta police training center, protests
Photos of those charged with Domestic Terrorism in connection with Sunday night's protests at the Atlanta police training site location. Photo credit DeKalb County Sheriff's Office

"Drop The Charges" and "Free Them All" was also chanted, referring to the 23 members of their group that were charged with Domestic Terrorism earlier this week. Atlanta Police Chief Darin Schierbaum called what happened Sunday night a 'violent attack' against police. He said group members clad in all black attacked officers with rocks, fireworks, and molotov cocktails. It happened at the training center construction site near Bouldercrest and Key roads in DeKalb County. It came after a man identified as a site opponent was shot and killed by officers at the location earlier this year.

Georgia Attorney General Chris Carr said that all but 2 of those arrested were from outside of the state. He called it an "international group of people that are organized to undermind a public safety training center." Carr issued a warning, "If you come here, engage in violence in order to change public policy, we have a law on the books that is Domestic Terrorism and you will be charged."

At the conclusion of Thursday night's protest march, organizer Kamal Franklin said similar activities will continue. He criticized Atlanta Mayor Andre Dickens saying that Dickens had encouraged people not to participate. Franklin also said they didn't want any more 'political prisoners' adding there is a time and place for everything. The marchers had started to disperse as of 9:30pm est.

Featured Image Photo Credit: Andrew Lichtenstein/Corbis via Getty Images