Since 2021, a diverse movement in has challenged the construction of Cop City, which is slated to destroy Atlanta’s South River Forest.  The forest is also known by its Muscogee name, Weelaunee.  The movement has created new intersections between abolitionist and environmental politics, since it is defending a forest with important ecological elements for the surrounding Black community, in order to protest the creation of new police training facilities.

In the movement’s latest phase, a new coalition called Block Cop City made an ambitious proposal for mass, non-violent action.  That action forced the city to suspend construction that day- and as of our airdate- has not resumed in the days since.

Here are selections from the statement issued by Block Cop City about the mobilization:

On November 13th, a bold and joyful procession of roughly 500 people marched along a public road to the proposed Cop City construction site. Holding banners and giant puppets, and accompanied by drummers and a brass band, Block Cop City activists reclaimed Atlanta’s rich civil rights legacy from politicians who continue to tarnish it with every voter disenfranchised and each tear gas canister thrown. Despite the violent response by police, activists minimized arrests and harm through careful planning, extensive preparation, and close attention to lessons learned from generations of revolutionary struggles against repression and authoritarianism.

Despite numerous stated commitments from religious leaders and city officials to honor the right to protest, armed riot police terrorized the crowd with tear gas grenades, attack dogs, clubs and ballistic shields.

As other protestors took to planting tree saplings in the Weelaunee Forest, journalists were forcibly separated from the crowd and threatened with arrest by police. We condemn this infringement of these journalists’ rights as well as the arrest of protestors including the Indigenous activists arrested while visiting Tortuguita’s altar in the Weelaunee Forest over the weekend.

The movement to Stop Cop City and Defend the Atlanta Forest is undeterred by today’s police aggression.

photo credit: Mia Beach