'They aren't protesters, they're thugs': Six arrested in violent 'Night of Rage' as Atlanta burns

'They aren't protesters, they're thugs': Six arrested in violent 'Night of Rage' as Atlanta burns
The incident took place on January 21 (@BillyHeathFOX5/Twitter)

ATLANTA, GEORGIA: A protest against the death of a 26-year-old Georgia-based activist, Manuel Esteban Paez Teran, who was part of a group of protestors who had camped for months in the forest in an attempt to stop the construction of the 85-acre building, took a violent turn in downtown Atlanta on Saturday evening, January 21, when masked activists dressed in all black began throwing rocks and set fireworks in front of a building that houses the Atlanta Police Foundation. Following this, six were arrested, who are not identified yet and their charges have not been released.

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At the press conference later on the same day, Atlanta Police Chief Darin Schierbaum said, as quoted by Atlanta News First, "a group inside the marching crowd decided to commit illegal activities which included breaking of windows.” APD chief Darin Schierbaum added, “Within two blocks the illegal activities were stopped and we had made an arrest of six individuals. There are 3 businesses that received damages.” While Atlanta Mayor Andre Dickens told, "The City of Atlanta and the Atlanta Police Department will not tolerate this, and we continue to protect the right to peacefully protest. We will not tolerate violence and property destruction. We will find you, we will arrest you and you will be held accountable.”

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While spokespeople with 'Stop Cop City', who organized the protest said they do not believe their actions were violent. They said, as reported by WSB TV, "Destruction of material is fundamentally different from violence. All reported acts appear to be explicitly targeted against the financial backers & goons of the Atlanta Police Foundation, a shady nonprofit that funnels weapons and military gear into our city to wage war on black and brown folks. The police have raided the forest for over 7 months, destroying material by trashing camps and water supplies, threatened the lives of forest defenders and now have murdered one. Protestors are only leveling the playing field & preventing future violence by disabling the economic machine of the Atlanta Police Foundation that seeks to sterilize all life within the Weelaunee Forest.”

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'Unlawful destruction of property are not acts of protest'

Condemning the actions, an Atlanta resident expressed by saying, "Atlanta is a great city and this is so unfortunate that we should experience this kind of stuff," reports Atlanta News First. Netizens too shared their views with one saying, "Violence and unlawful destruction of property are not acts of protest. They are crimes that will not be tolerated in Georgia and will be prosecuted fully." Another wrote, "Anyone pushing for the violence (riots, looting) should be arrested." One more commented, "Call it what it is. It’s no longer a protest, it’s a riot, it’s domestic terrorism."



 

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One of many stated, "They aren’t protesters, they are thugs and rioters. Period." While on suggested, "Whoever is funding these groups, needs to pay for all damages and expenses."

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Atlanta Police Department also released the following statement, "The Atlanta Police Department is aware of these events, and we will continue to monitor them. We stand ready to respond to demonstrations to ensure the safety of those in our communities and those exercising their first amendment right, or to address illegal activity, should the need arise.” 

This article contains remarks made on the Internet by individual people and organizations. MEAWW cannot confirm them independently and does not support claims or opinions being made online.

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