ATLANTA — A peaceful protest in downtown Atlanta turned violent Saturday night when protesters set fire to a police car and began smashing windows.
The protesters are against the construction of an APD training center in a forest in DeKalb County.
Hundreds of protesters gathered in Underground Atlanta before moving down Peachtree St. in the heart of downtown Atlanta.
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Shortly afterwards, a police car in Atlanta was set on fire and windows of local businesses were smashed.
The governor’s office released a statement saying they will not tolerate unlawful crimes in the name of peaceful protest.
The governor keeps a close eye on the situation through regular updates from state law enforcement and is actively monitoring the situation. The state patrol is well equipped to respond to all threats to public safety and works closely with other government agencies and local law enforcement.
While the state continues to respect peaceful protest, acts of violence against persons or property will NOT be tolerated. Those who commit such unlawful acts will be arrested and fully prosecuted.
A short time later, Governor Brian Kemp himself tweeted a statement.
Violence and unlawful destruction of property are not protest actions. They are crimes that will not be tolerated in Georgia and will be fully prosecuted.
Thank you to the hardworking @ga_dps, @GBI_GA, @Atlanta_Policeand others are actively keeping our streets safe tonight.
— Governor Brian P. Kemp (@GovKemp) January 22, 2023
The Atlanta Police Department released the following statement Channel 2 Action news:
“The Atlanta Police Department is aware of ongoing events and we will continue to monitor and address them accordingly. We stand ready to respond to demonstrations to ensure the safety of those in our communities and those exercising their right to first amendment, or to crack down on illegal activities should the need arise.”
At 6:45 p.m., the Atlanta Police Department released an update stating:
“The Atlanta Police Department has responded to a group vandalizing property at several locations along Peachtree St. Several arrests have been made at this time and order has been restored to the downtown area. This is still an active and ongoing investigation and we are unable to provide details of arrest numbers or damaged property at this time.”
Channel 2 Action News is working on additional information.
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