Georgia Republican Governor Brian Kemp has declared a state of emergency and activated 1,000 National Guard troops in anticipation of violent anti-police protests in Atlanta this weekend. Last week, masked protesters threw rocks, launched fireworks and burned a police vehicle in front of the Atlanta Police Foundation building. “Georgians respect peaceful protests, but do not tolerate acts of violence against persons or property,” Kemp wrote in the order, which expires Feb. 9.
Violence broke out last weekend in Atlanta after the police-involved shooting of environmental activist, Manuel Esteban Paez Teran. Teran is alleged to have shot at police officers while defending a forest from “Cop City,” which is a police training center near Atlanta. Members of his environmental conservation community are alleging that the Atlanta police officer suffered a gunshot from friendly fire, and Teran had not fired a shot. However, there is no indication that an officer was shot by friendly fire at this time.
Following a police officer getting shot in the abdomen, Teran was believed to have fired the shot at the police officer. Teran would be shot and killed by a police officer, and his death created a wave of protests throughout a handful of cities, most notably in Atlanta, where seven rioters would go on to be arrested.
According to Fox the following destruction occurred in Atlanta after Teran’s death:
Anti-police activists called for a “night of rage” last Friday in response to police-involved shooting.
Rioters damaged at least three businesses over the weekend, throwing bricks and shattering windows, Fox 5 Atlanta reported. At least two police cars were targeted and one was set on fire. Some of the individuals arrested were found with explosives, investigators said.
Six suspects, five of whom were from out-of-state, have been charged with domestic terrorism related to last weekend’s riots.
They were identified as Nadja Geier, 24, of Nashville, Tennessee; Madeleine Feola, 22, of Spokane, Washington; Ivan Ferguson, 23, of Nevada; Graham Evatt, 20, of Decatur, Georgia; Francis Carrol, 22, of Kennebunkport, Maine; and Emily Murphy, 37, of Grosse Isle, Michigan.
Atlanta Mayor Andre Dickens said Saturday evening:
“Atlanta is safe and our police officers have resolved the disruptions downtown from earlier in the evening,” adding, “The City of Atlanta and the Atlanta Police Department will continue to protect the right to peaceful protest. We will not tolerate violence or property destruction.”