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Six people were arrested on charges of domestic terrorism by Atlanta police Saturday night following violent riots carried out by Antifa activists who shattered windows, destroyed a police car, and vandalized walls with graffiti.
Protesters descended upon Atlanta following the death of Manuel Esteban Paez Terán (“Tortuguita”), a climate activist who was killed during a violent confrontation with police earlier in the week.
Five of the six people arrested came from out of state to cause mayhem. One of the arrested, Francis Carroll, was out on bail for domestic terrorism and is the son of a wealthy Maine family, according to investigative reporter Andy Ngo.
Atlanta Police Chief Darin Schierbaum strongly condemned the violence.”We can tell now, early in this investigation, this was not the focus tonight just to damage the windows of three buildings and set a police car on fire,” Schierbaum said during a press conference. “The intent was to continue to do harm, and that did not happen.”
Similar sentiments were echoed by Georgia governor Brian Kemp, who condemned the demonstrations.
“Violence and unlawful destruction of property are not acts of protest. They are crimes that will not be tolerated in Georgia and will be prosecuted fully,” Kemp tweeted on Saturday night.
ATLANTA RIOT: More images from downtown Atlanta tonight after a “Cop City” protest became a riot. A number of businesses were vandalized and a City of Atlanta Police Department Vehicle was set ablaze. Continued coverage on @FOX5Atlanta #breaking #news #atl #atlantaprotest pic.twitter.com/GJHNtQYf3T
— Billy Heath III (@BillyHeathFOX5) January 22, 2023
Terán was part of a group of environmental protesters blocking the construction of a new Atlanta Police Department training facility. The group dubbed their campaign “Stop Cop City.”
“Destruction of material is fundamentally different from violence. All reported acts appear to be explicitly targeted against the financial backers & goons of the Atlanta Police Foundation, a shady nonprofit that funnels weapons and military gear into our city to wage war on black and brown folks,” a spokesperson for the anti-police campaign told a local Atlanta news station.
An earlier police raid that sought to remove protesters from the proposed sight turned violent when, according to the Georgia Bureau of Investigation, Terán shot an officer, forcing law enforcement to return fire, killing him.
Terán’s mother, Belkis, challenged the narrative that her son was violent and shot first. “I will go to the US to defend Manuel’s memory,” Belkis, who lives in Panama told The Guardian. “I’m convinced that he was assassinated in cold blood.”
Downtown Atlanta is getting smashed to bits by ANTIFA terrorists right now pic.twitter.com/mhQB8RFsGN
— Swig 🇺🇸 (@OldRowSwig) January 22, 2023
The Antifa riots in Atlanta coincided with similar demonstrations that took place Saturday night in Boston. Protesters vandalized a monument in the Boston Common and assaulted a police officer following the fatal police shooting of a university student in December 2022.
The son of House minority whip Katherine Clark (D., Mass.) was arrested during the violence.