Dozens face domestic terrorism charges in Atlanta after protesters clash with police | US News

More than 20 people are facing domestic terrorism charges in Atlanta after they were arrested in violent clashes between police and protesters at a police training center construction site, authorities said Monday.

The 23 people facing charges were among a group detained by police on Sunday who said they fired bricks, Molotov cocktails and fireworks at officers after they broke into a construction site in a wooded area outside Atlanta.

The planned public safety training center in Atlanta, nicknamed “Police City” by opponents, has been the site of an escalating standoff between demonstrators and police.

The demonstrators opposed what they called the increasing militarization of the police and said building the 85-acre training center would involve felling large numbers of trees, which would be damaging to the environment.

Surveillance video provided by the Atlanta Police Department showed what appeared to be officers trying to lock the gate as fireworks exploded around them.

Other footage appeared to show protesters throwing rocks at a fence, with several small fires burning and heavy construction equipment ablaze.

Atlanta Police Chief Darrin Silbaum said some construction equipment was set ablaze in what he called a “coordinated attack” at the scene.

It was unclear whether the DeKalb County District Attorney, whose office was not immediately available for comment, had formally charged any of them.

The fire could be seen at the center's construction site.Image: Atlanta Police Department/Reuters
The fire could be seen at the construction site.Image: Atlanta Police Department/Reuters

Nearly all of those arrested were from across the United States, with one from Canada and one from France, police said.

The police and fire training center is being built on 85 of the city’s 400 acres in DeKalb County.

It’s within the larger South River Forest, a site opponents say they want to preserve a significant green space near the greater Atlanta metro area.

An Atlanta police officer walks past a burned tractor at the site of a proposed Atlanta Public Safety Training Facility following protest vandalism in Atlanta, Georgia, U.S., March 6, 2023. Reuters/Alyssa Pointer

Sunday’s event kicked off with a music festival as part of a week of demonstrations against construction sites and in support of police reform. A group of people left the concert and started protesting.

In January, the site was met with protests that briefly turned violent.

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