Georgia governor declares state of emergency and deploys 1,000 National Guard troops amid protests in Atlanta

Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp on Thursday declared a state of emergency and activated 1,000 National Guard troops in response to ongoing violent protests in downtown Atlanta following a shooting last week near a controversial future law enforcement training ground, in which a police officer of the State of Georgia and one man were injured was killed.

According to the document, the state of emergency applies until February 9, unless extended by the governor.

The Atlanta protests are centered around the Atlanta Public Safety Training Center building, nicknamed “Cop City.” Protesters have been at the site for months, but on January 18, one protester was identified as Manuel Esteban Paez Teran was shot by law enforcement after authorities said he shot and injured a Georgia state police officer during a planned multi-agency operation to remove protesters from the area. The soldier was hospitalized and survived.

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It’s Jan 21, Six people were arrested after protests in Cop City resulted in property damage and a police vehicle catching fire. Atlanta Mayor Andre Dickens said some of the arrested protesters were found with explosives. Nobody was injured.

Police block downtown streets after a protest Saturday, Jan. 21, 2023, in Atlanta following the death of an environmental activist who was killed after authorities said the 26-year-old shot and killed a state police officer.

Alex Slot / AP

Kemp specifically referred to the burned car in his declaration of the state of emergency.

“Masked activists threw rocks, set off firecrackers and set fire to a police vehicle in front of the Atlanta Police Foundation office building,” the statement said in part. “Georgians respect peaceful protests but do not condone acts of violence against people or property.”

The state of emergency allows the Georgian National Guard to be deployed in response to ongoing protests. Activated troops will have “the same powers of arrest and arrest as law enforcement officers.”

The Atlanta Police Department also told CBS News in a statement that it is monitoring events in Memphis and the protests surrounding the death of Tire Nichols, who died on January 10, three days after a violent traffic stop. The five officers involved in the arrest were charged with second-degree murder on Thursday. Video footage of the arrest is expected to be released Friday afternoon, officials said.

“We are closely monitoring events in Memphis and stand ready to support peaceful protests in our city,” Atlanta Police said. “We understand and share the outrage at the death of Tire Nichols. Police officers are expected to behave compassionately, competently and legally, and those officers have failed Tyre, its communities and its profession. We demand that demonstrations are safe and peaceful.”

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Kerry Breen

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