An Atlanta bail fund jumped to the defense of activists arrested in Atlanta Sunday night after a demonstration against a planned police and fire training facility devolved into vandalism and arson.
The Atlanta Solidarity Fund asked for donations Monday afternoon, saying it was “committed to providing bail assistance and access to legal representation for everyone arrested protesting.”
“We are already coordinating a network of lawyers to respond. Please donate to help us continue this work. Solidarity means nobody faces repression alone!” the fund tweeted.
Atlanta police identified 23 suspects charged with domestic terrorism after allegedly launching an attack Sunday night against the construction site for a police and fire training facility dubbed “Cop City”. The Atlanta Police Department revealed all but two of the arrestees are from out of state.
The group is accused of leaving a nearby music festival Sunday evening and heading to the construction site of the Atlanta Public Safety Training Center “to conduct a coordinated attack on construction equipment and police officers.”
Authorities noted how the group changed into black clothing and allegedly threw commercial-grade fireworks, Molotov cocktails, large rocks and bricks at police officers.
The Atlanta Solidarity Fund described those arrested as “festival-goers.”
“Indiscriminate police violence tonight against Stop Cop City festival-goers,” the organization tweeted. “Police seem to be lashing out at anyone present at the music festival. Music is not a crime, protest is not a crime. The first amendment doesn’t go away when a single person sets a fire.”
“They want to hold every movement participant liable for anything which anyone does in the name of defending the forest,” the Atlanta Solidarity Fund continued. “If one person burns a bulldozer, they want to jail every protester for arson. As a legal strategy, it would be laughable if it didn’t have serious consequences.”
“The strategy of extreme collective punishment is designed to scare protesters into silence, but also to pit the movement against itself,” it added. “They want to get activists focused on condemning and policing each other so that the cops don’t have to. We will never condemn the tactics of protesters who fight earnestly for their beliefs.”
Atlanta Jail Support, a project of the Atlanta Solidarity Fund said it was “hard at work tracking down everyone who has been arrested today at the forest music festival,” so it could “help them get bailed and advocate for them while they’re in jail.”
“Cop City” protesters later descended upon City Hall during the Atlanta City Council meeting Monday afternoon, chanting, “No justice, no peace,” the Atlanta Community Press Collective reported.
Before Sunday, at least 19 people had been arrested and charged with domestic terrorism since December in connection to demonstrations at the “Cop City” site. Six of the 19 arrests came out of a violent riot in downtown Atlanta on Jan. 21 that was sparked by the deadly shooting of 26-year-old environmental activist Manuel Esteban Paez Teran by Georgia State Patrol.
Though demonstrations at the 85-acre property in DeKalb County secured for a $90 million police and fire training facility have been ongoing, Schierbaum said Sunday’s incident marked a “significant escalation” both in the level of violence and the number of individuals involved in the attack.
State patrol had responded to the construction site to clear out demonstrators. Authorities said Teran, who reportedly went by the name Tortuguita and identified as non-binary, shot a trooper in the abdomen before law enforcement officials returned fire and killed Teran.
The Movement for Black Lives, a coalition of more than 50 groups, including the Black Lives Matter Global Network Foundation, promoted a local organization to help the arrested protesters.
“For folks out there protesting in ATL or anyone who may be arrested in the south, call this number to get legal support!” the organization tweeted. “SPREAD THE WORD so our people can be safe! It’s a local number that can be called from jail. #StopCopCity”
Fox News’ Danielle Wallace contributed to this report.