‘Defend the Atlanta Forest’ and ‘Stop Cop City’ protestors clashed with police at Atlanta’s future Public Safety Training Facility on Sunday.
Fire and smoke were seen at the site on Key Road in southeast Atlanta, and according to FOX5 Atlanta, protestors also threw Molotov cocktails.
Dawn White of 11 Alive news reported on Twitter from the spot that gunshots were also heard in the area, but she could not say for certain. No injuries have been reported so far.
Defend the Atlanta Forest is a coalition of environmental activists and groups who are against the establishment of what they call the ‘Cop City’. It is a project by the Atlanta Police Department that will “turn 300 acres of forest into a tactical training compound”, says the official website of the group.
The website notes that the $90 million project in Atlanta, a city that contains the “highest percentage of tree canopy of any major metropolitan area in America”, was announced without consulting the community members.
Tensions between the protestors and the police have been simmering for the last two months in Atlanta, particularly over the death of activist Manuel Paez Terán, one of the dozens of activists camped in the forest to protest against the project.
The Guardian reported that the group started a “week of action” on March 1 against the project, and the clash today was most likely a part of it.
“The Week of Action is a mass mobilization against Cop City, a $90 million police training facility slated to be built in the South River (Weelaunee) Forest,” the group said in a press release announcing it.
“If built, Cop City would further militarize police in Georgia and across the country, and the destruction of the forest would lead to increased flooding and unmitigated heatwaves in a predominantly Black, working-class neighborhood in south Atlanta.”