Antifa rioters armed with explosives caused chaos in downtown Atlanta as they torched cars and hurled fireworks outside the Police Foundation building in an ugly protest over 26-year-old environmental activist Manuel Esteban Paez Teran who was shot by cops earlier this week.
The rioters clad in black hoodies and ski masks torched cars including police patrol vehicles.
The chaos broke out after the tone of the peaceful demo suddenly changed but the crowd were angry after authorities said Teran shot a state trooper.
Masked activists threw rocks and lit fireworks in front of a skyscraper that houses the Atlanta Police Foundation and shattered large glass windows with hammers.
They then lit a police car on fire and vandalized other buildings with anti-police graffiti as stunned tourists scattered.
Protesters and law enforcement officers engage in a struggle during demonstrations related to the death of Manuel Teran who was killed during a police raid earlier this week
A law enforcement vehicle is seen lit on fire during demonstrations on Saturday night
A protestor drags a sign into the street during Saturday afternoon’s demonstration
A protester is detained during the demo in Atlanta, Georgia
Protestors hold signs during demonstrations related to the death of Manuel Teran who was killed during a police raid inside Weelaunee People’s Park, the planned site of a controversial ‘Cop City’ project, in Atlanta
‘The GBI and all law enforcement agencies embrace a citizen’s right to protest, but law enforcement can’t stand by while serious criminal acts are being committed and jeopardize the safety of the citizens we are sworn to protect,’ the Georgia Bureau of Investigation tweeted
As police moved on the marchers, the violence quickly fizzled without anyone being injured. Six people have been arrested in connection with the anarchy.
Video captured three of the arrest which saw antifa protesters screaming ‘I can’t breathe’, in echoes of the words said by George Floyd in May 2020 when he was asphyxiated by a Minneapolis police officer who kept his knee on his next.
‘The GBI and all law enforcement agencies embrace a citizen’s right to protest, but law enforcement can’t stand by while serious criminal acts are being committed and jeopardize the safety of the citizens we are sworn to protect,’ the Georgia Bureau of Investigation tweeted.
Television station WSB-TV showed what it said was at least one police car that had been set on fire as well as broken windows and a damaged ATM in a downtown Atlanta area popular among tourists. Firetrucks were at the scene along with a heavy police presence.
Saturday night’s protest was held in the name of Manuel Esteban Paez Teran, 26, who was shot dead by police on Wednesday after authorities say he aimed a gun at officers
A police statement said the groups damaged property at several locations along Peachtree Street, a corridor of hotels and restaurants, adding that several arrests were made and ‘order was quickly restored to the Downtown space.’
The violent protesters were a subsection of hundreds of demonstrators who had gathered and marched up Atlanta’s famed Peachtree Street to mourn the death of the protester, a nonbinary person, Manuel Esteban Paez Teran, who went by the name Tortuguita and who used they/it pronouns.
Tortuguita was killed on Wednesday as authorities cleared a small group of protesters from the site of a planned Atlanta-area public safety training center that activists have dubbed ‘Cop City.’
A police can be seen blazing during Saturday’s demonstration
A protester breaks a window with a hammer during a emo in downtown Atlanta
A protester throws a rock at a window during a burst of anarchy in Atlanta on Saturday
A person films as a firework explodes behind them during demonstrations on Saturday
Protestors march during demonstrations related to the death of Manuel Teran who was killed
The protest began peacefully on Saturday before spiraling into chaos
Demonstrators took to Underground Atlanta where the demonstration turned violent
The Georgia Bureau of Investigation has said Tortuguita was killed after shooting and injuring a state trooper, but activists have questioned officials’ version of events, calling it a ‘murder’ and demanding an independent investigation.
According to the GBI, the incident was not recorded on body cameras. The GBI said on Friday that it determined the trooper was shot in the abdomen by a bullet from a handgun that was in Tortuguita’s possession.
Word of Saturday’s protest had been widely circulated ahead of time on social media and among leftist activists, with some passing out flyers that read, ‘Police killed a protester. Stand up. Fight back.’
A burned out police car sits on the street following the violent protest
A police officer blocks a downtown street following the protest which occurred in the tourist area
Protestors hold signs and march during demonstrations related to the death of Manuel Teran who was killed during a police raid inside Weelaunee People’s Park
Protestors held signs and marched on Saturday afternoon
Police officers stand blocking a downtown street following the protest
Hundreds gathered at a downtown commercial complex, Underground Atlanta, before groups began moving down Peachtree Street.
A police statement said the protesters damaged property at several locations along Peachtree Street, a corridor of hotels and restaurants, adding that several arrests were made and ‘order was quickly restored to the Downtown space.’
There were no immediate reports of any injuries.
‘This is still an active and ongoing investigation and we will not be able to provide specifics on arrests numbers or property damaged, at this time,’ police said in a statement.
Georgia Governor Brian Kemp decried the violence and thanked responding officers
Graffiti is seen at the edge of Weelaunee People’s Park, the planned site of a controversial ‘Cop City’ project, days after protestor Manuel Teran died during a police raid, near Atlanta, Georgia
An abandoned protest campsite is seen inside Weelaunee People’s Park
Activists had been camped out on an 85-acre planned facility known as ‘Cop City’ in recent days to protest the planned training center
Georgia Governor Brian Kemp decried the violence and thanked responding officers.
‘Violence and unlawful destruction of property are not acts of protest,’ the Republican governor tweeted. ‘They are crimes that will not be tolerated in Georgia and will be prosecuted fully.
Opponents of the training center have been protesting for over a year by building platforms in surrounding trees and camping out at the site.
They say the $90 million project, which would be built by the Atlanta Police Foundation, involves cutting down so many trees that it would be environmentally damaging.
They also oppose investing so much money in a facility they say will be used to practice ‘urban warfare.’
The GBI said about 25 campsites were located and removed Wednesday and mortar-style fireworks, edged weapons, pellet rifles, gas masks and a blow torch were recovered.
Seven people were arrested during the raid and charged with domestic terrorism and criminal trespass, with other charges pending, the GBI said.
They range in age from 20 to 34 years, and none are Georgia residents.
Georgia State Patrol troopers swooped on the so-called autonomous zone at the site of a future $90million Atlanta Public Safety Training Center during a ‘clearing operation’
Protestors claim police are ‘lying’ and have rejected the narrative one of their own shot at officers first – despite members being arrested on ‘domestic terrorism’ charges
Tributes were laid out for the ‘tree defender’ who has now been identified as 26-year-old Teran