Filed under: Action, Development, Police, Repression, Southeast, The State
Report on blockade by elders against the construction of Cop City in so-called Atlanta, Georgia.
Atlanta, GA: On Wednesday morning four elders blocked the entrance to the construction site of Atlanta’s “Cop City” project by sitting in chairs draped with a large banner reading, “Stop the Construction, Let the People Decide.” As they blocked the entrance, faith leaders and supporters held a ceremony on the public road to Lament the loss of the forest, the loss of life, and the death of the democratic process in Atlanta.
The construction of Cop City and the destruction of the South River Forest have continued despite over 116,000 Atlanta residents signing a ballot initiative calling for a referendum on the issue. The City of Atlanta has fought the referendum with lawsuits and technical obstructions.
“In my lifetime I have watched the police become increasingly militarized and dangerous. Militarization of the police disproportionately impacts Black and Indigenous people, and people of color – I think it is important for white people to stand up and say we will not allow this to continue.” Said Shelley Nagrani, who blockaded the entrance.
The movement opposing Cop City has faced overt repression. Dozens of people have been charged with baseless Domestic Terrorism and RICO charges. On Monday, many of the 61 people facing RICO charges turned themselves in to the Fulton County Jail. As of Wednesday morning, several of them are still in jail awaiting bond.
Cop City would be the largest police training compound in the United States, and would train police from around the world in militarized tactics. The initial phases of the construction of the facility has already destroyed 85 acres of the South River forest, a critical ecological resource situated in a majority black community. On January 18th Georgia State Police shot and killed Manuel “Totuguita” Terán as they camped in the South River forest to protest Cop City. An independent autopsy found that they had their hands up in the air and were sitting cross-legged when they were killed.
“I was a high school teacher for 21 years. I always emphasized that if you want to live where your voice matters you have to use your voice, you have to participate. We spoke to city council, we spoke to Mayor Dickens, and Deklab CEO Micheal Thurmond and they are not listening to the people. Over 116k people signed a petition demanding this project come to a vote. Our elected officials are only listening to the rich who want to use a militarized police to protect their wealth. Atlanta deserves better,” stated Priscilla Smith, who blockaded the entrance.