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Jan 13, 23

Opponents of Cop City Project in Atlanta Call for ‘Weekend of Solidarity’

Opponents of the “Cop City” project in so-called Atlanta, Georgia – a massive corporate backed counter-insurgency police training facility that threatens to destroy the Weelaunee Forest – are calling for a “weekend of solidarity with the Atlanta forest” this coming weekend, from January 13th – 16th.

Last month, six people were swept up in violent raids of tree-sits that were set up in the Weelaunee forest to resist the construction of the facility and charged with “domestic terrorism.” Though originally denied bail, this decision was later reversed as public opinion quickly swung against the State’s heavy handed response.

As Kamau Franklin of Community Movement Builders stated in a recent interview on Democracy Now!:

Remember, Georgia is the place where John Lewis and “good trouble” is supposed to be accepted. But civil disobedience in the forest is something that is not accepted when the police want to build a highly militarized training ground.

And so, while these folks were just in part of their encampment, they were raided by the police, again, by the Georgia Bureau of Investigation. Folks were sitting, literally sitting in tree huts, where they were — all of their camp equipment was destroyed. Rubber bullets were used. Guns were pointing at their head. They were involved at that particular time in no activity whatsoever, except for the act of being in the forest. And they all were taken in and then charged in this sort of RICO or conspiracy idea that the act of protest, the act of civil disobedience, direct action, is something that’s now being criminalized, in a statute that really doesn’t get used in Georgia, but it’s been on the books for a number of years. And so, these folks were doing absolutely nothing but being in the forest as Forest Defenders at the time of their arrest.

One of those charged with domestic terrorism was arrested simply for filming law enforcement while in their car, an arrest civil rights attorneys are calling “unconstitutional.” This is not the first time that Atlanta police have attempted to suppress media from covering the protests against Cop City.

According to the Saporta Report“One journalist arrested while covering training center protesters told SaportaReport that APD seized and “disappeared” his notebook,” and in June of 2022:

[A] filmmaker…working on a film focused on tree-sitting protesters…was stopped by APD officers, including a major identified by the filmmaker and an embroidered shirt as Jeff Cantin, and another officer, identified only as “Mike,” who the filmmaker believes was with the GBI.

Mike and the APD major then pressured the filmmaker at length to delete his footage in exchange for going free instead of being arrested on an accusation of trespass. Meanwhile, the filmmaker continued filming the entire encounter. He provided SaportaReport with an edited and captioned excerpt of the incident.

A lawsuit is currently pending surrounding the trumped up arrests of demonstrators and attempts by police to silence journalists.

On December 17th, hundreds of people gathered in Atlanta and took to the streets to denounce the project and the draconian charges, while across the US, banners were dropped and graffiti slogans written in solidarity. Websites like Scenes from the Atlanta Forest have also documented an ongoing string of solidarity actions, including a recent act of sabotage against a construction site in Florida belonging to Brasfield & Gorrie, which is involved in the Cop City project. Graffiti slogans and banners were left behind in solidarity reading, “Stop Cop City!”

Source: Scenes from the Atlanta Forest

According to recent studies. American law enforcement “killed at least 1,176 people in 2022, making it the deadliest year on record for police violence since experts first started tracking the killings.”

Roundup of Solidarity Events

January 14th, Savannah, GA

January 14th, Brooklyn, NYC

January 15th, New Haven, CT

January 15th, Atlanta, GA

January 16th, Decatur, GA

January 28th, NYC

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