In another push against "Cop City," five participants of the Defend the Atlanta Forest movement staged a protest by breaking into the construction site of the planned police training compound. Protesters also chained themselves to a bulldozer to stop the construction of the controversial area.
This follows Georgia prosecutors' recent filing of racketeering charges against 61 other movement activists under Georgia's Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO).
The protest seeks to prevent the construction of Cop City, the nation's largest police training facility, which would harm crucial forest land in a predominantly Black community. The activists' actions underscore their determination to resist the criminalization of social movements.
All five protesters, including two Unitarian Universalist clergy members, were arrested by the DeKalb County Police. In an additional concerning development, a drone owned by a documentary crew attempting to film the protest was downed and confiscated by the police, raising potential concerns about press freedoms.
The RICO charges, viewed as extreme and overreaching, attempt to suppress the movement and depict it as a criminal enterprise. In response, activists on the ground are emphasizing solidarity and resilience. The charges against movement participants have drawn attention for their attempt to criminalize activities such as "mutual aid," writing "zines," and "collectivism."
Link: The Intercept