During a dramatic week of action in the Atlanta forest this past week, hundreds of forest defenders sabotaged a construction site for the unpopular “Cop City” development. Police responded with an act of extreme collective punishment against the entire movement, attacking a nearby Stop Cop City music festival, tasing, beating, and arresting concertgoers at random. 34 people were detained, with 23 being charged with domestic terrorism, just for being present. Maggie Gates, a 25-year old farmer from Bloomington, was tased and arrested and is now facing these charges. People across the country and in Bloomington have mobilized in solidarity, contesting these disturbing charges and extreme police violence. Other media outlets in Bloomington, such as the Herald-Times, have inaccurately reported that the arrests happened at the construction site project. This false statement has been repeatedly debunked, as Gates and the other arrestees were not arrested at the construction site, but rather at the music festival.
The movement in Atlanta remains unbowed, with continuing actions across the city and a large downtown rally organized by Community Movement Builders and Black Voters Matter. Overhanging all of this is the police murder of Tortuguita in the Atlanta forest in January. Police have stonewalled any investigation even as the police narrative has been undermined by emerging facts. Tortuguita’s family released the results of an independent autopsy showing that Tortuguita was sitting crosslegged and with their hands up when police shot them to death. Among more than a dozen other wounds, they were shot in both palms.
You can find out more about the movement to Stop Cop City here: https://defendtheatlantaforest.org/