Georgia governor Brian Kemp (R.) on Thursday declared a state of emergency, activating 1,000 National Guard troops to respond to violent anti-police protests across Atlanta.
The state of emergency, which will last until Feb. 9, is in response to a spate of riots led by Antifa agitators. Just last week, anti-police activists rampaged through downtown Atlanta, destroying a police vehicle and damaging several businesses.
“Masked activists threw rocks, launched fireworks, and burned a police vehicle in front of the Atlanta Police Foundation office building,” according to the declaration. “Georgians respect peaceful protests, but do not tolerate acts of violence against persons or property.”
Anti-police activists have for months gathered outside a new police training facility, which they call “Cop City,” to protest its construction. The latest riots broke out after one activist, Manuel Esteban Paez Teran, was killed by officers after he shot a Georgia state trooper at the new facility.
Atlanta officials also say they are monitoring an incident in Memphis where five former police officers were charged with second-degree murder for the shooting death of a civilian at a traffic stop. Video footage of the incident is expected to be released Friday, which Atlanta officials worry could trigger more riots in their city.
“We are closely monitoring the events in Memphis and are prepared to support peaceful protests in our city,” Atlanta police said in a statement. “We ask that demonstrations be safe and peaceful.”
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