The Georgia Bureau of Investigation is charging 23 anti-police agitators with domestic terrorism after violent riots in Atlanta on Sunday left a police training facility on fire, the Daily Mail reported Monday. The rioters were arrested near the Atlanta Public Safety Training Center, dubbed “Cop City.”
In all, 35 agitators were detained, police said. It wasn’t immediately clear whether the remaining 12 were also facing charges.
The vast majority of the rioters came from out of state.
Hundreds of far-left antifa agitators reportedly breached the site on Sunday, burning police and construction vehicles, and setting off smoke bombs.
Scene at the Antifa attack in Atlanta pic.twitter.com/HwxTKdQU2O
— Jack Posobiec 🇺🇸 (@JackPosobiec) March 6, 2023
Video from FOX 5 Atlanta and the New York Times show a bulldozer and other pieces of equipment on fire at the future Atlanta Public Safety Training Center. The antifa militants reportedly threw rocks and Molotov cocktails at police during the clash.
Atlanta Police has released video of the firebombing and #antifa throwing rocks at police.
— AntifaWatch (@AntifaWatch2) March 6, 2023
The violent, antifa-allied “Defend the Atlanta Forest” group has declared March 4 to 11 to be a “Week of Action” to “Defend the Forest.”
Another "Week of action" starts tomorrow for 'Stop Cop City'
This is the 4th week of action so far, these weeks have had large numbers of #antifa come to Atlanta for direct action such as vandalism, arson, throwing molotovs at police, and targeting people's homes pic.twitter.com/1xjLhymJiW
— AntifaWatch (@AntifaWatch2) March 4, 2023
“The illegal actions of the agitators could have resulted in bodily harm. Officers exercised restraint and used non-lethal enforcement to conduct arrests,” a police spokesman said.
“With protests planned for the coming days, the Atlanta Police Department, in collaboration with law enforcement partners, have a multi-layered strategy that includes reaction and arrest,” the spokesman added.
The ongoing conflict stems from the Atlanta City Council’s approval in 2021 of a $90 million project to replace a substandard training center with a new facility in the wake of the demoralizing 2020 George Floyd riots.
Protesters self-described as “forest defenders” and a progressive group called “Stop Cop City” argue that the new facility being built in the wooded parts of Atlanta will cause a loss of trees detrimental to the environment, and that it would promote the militarization of the police.
Protesters in June 2021 began camping in the section of woods designated for the training facility.
In December and January, 19 other agitators were reportedly charged with terrorism for their involvement in the “Stop Cop City” riots.
Six of those arrests were made in response to a riot in downtown Atlanta on Jan. 21 that began after Georgia State Patrol shot and killed environmental activist Manuel Esteban Paez Teran during efforts to clear protesters from the area. The activist had shot a trooper in the abdomen before officers returned fire.
Following the violence on Sunday, Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.) tweeted that she will introduce a resolution declaring Antifa a terrorist group.
“Antifa are domestic terrorists and I’m introducing my resolution to officially declare them a terrorist organization on Tuesday,” Greene wrote in a tweet Sunday night.
In a separate tweet, Greene noted that the attack on the training facility was premeditated and announced on social media.
“This is domestic terrorism. It was planned for weeks and announced on social media. Antifa are self proclaimed communists and consistently organize to attack our government over and over again. They should be taken seriously and not tolerated anymore,” she wrote.