Police have charged 23 individuals with domestic terrorism in connection to the violence at the construction site of a future police training center in Atlanta on Sunday.
The Georgia Bureau of Investigation charged these individuals with the felony, which can result in a 35-year prison sentence. According to the Atlanta police, the list shows only two of the individuals charged are from Georgia, while the rest are from other states, France, and Canada.
Police accused a group of "violent agitators," who wore all-black and pretended to be part of a peaceful protest, of conducting a coordinated attack at the construction area of the Atlanta Public Safety Training Center.
Protesters launched fireworks and threw rocks, bricks, and Molotov cocktails during the clash. The incident resulted in the damage of some construction equipment.
Police exercised restraint and arrested at least 35 people using non-lethal enforcement. No officers were injured during the altercation. According to Georgia Attorney General Chris Carr, this is a national and international network of individuals organized to undermine the state's public safety training center.
As reported by Greg Price on Twitter, one of the members arrested on domestic terrorism charges is a staff attorney with the Southern Poverty Law Center.
“The FBI has historically used the SPLC as a source for who should be considered domestic terrorists,” he wrote.
The Atlanta City Council approved the $90 million training center in 2021, and the construction began in a forested area, which has drawn opposition from environmentalists and anti-police demonstrators. Sunday's unrest marks another peak in the clashes with law enforcement.
Governor Brian Kemp condemned the incident, stating that "domestic terrorism will NOT be tolerated in this state," and pledged to bring those responsible for using violence and intimidation for an extremist end to justice.
"What happened last night was not peaceful protest – it was violence. Plain and simple," Georgia Attorney General Chris Carr said in a Monday statement following the arrests. "We will not tolerate this destruction of property, and we will seek to ensure that those who have engaged in this criminal behavior are held accountable to the fullest extent of the law."