Five people have been arrested in Georgia and charged with domestic terrorism stemming from a violent protest at the planned site of a police training center.
The Georgia Bureau of Investigation (GBI) said in a press release the five individuals were arrested at a protest Tuesday in Atlanta at the future training center site after protesters threw rocks at police cars and attacked EMT workers with rocks and bottles at a fire station near the site.
“Task force members used various tactics to arrest individuals who were occupying makeshift treehouses,” the release said, adding that police found “explosive devices, gasoline, and road flares” after clearing out the protest site.
Francis Carroll, a 22-year-old from Maine, was charged with criminal trespass, domestic terrorism, aggravated assault, felony obstruction, interference with government property and possession of tools for the commission of a crime.
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Nicholas Olson, a 25-year-old from Nebraska, was charged with domestic terrorism, aggravated assault, interference with government property and obstruction.
Serena Hertel, a 25-year-old from California, was charged with criminal trespassing, domestic terrorism, aggravated assault, obstruction and inciting a riot.
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Leonardo Vioselle, 20, from Macon, Georgia, was charged with criminal trespass, domestic terrorism and possession for tools of the crime.
Arieon Robinson, a Wisconsin 22-year-old, was charged with criminal trespass, obstruction and domestic terrorism.
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“They were shooting pepper balls, tear gas at people who were peacefully holding the forest space right now,” one of the protesters at the scene told WAGA-TV. “I think it’s truly abhorrent.”
The arrests come as leftist protesters have mobilized for months attempting to stop the construction of the police training site, which has been dubbed “Cop City”, and camping out in the woods building entrenchments.
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“The City of Atlanta has leased 381-acres of Weelaunee Forest, stolen Muscogee land, to the Atlanta Police Foundation for a police military facility funded by corporations,” the Stop Cop City organization states on its website. “Cop City will never be built. #StopCopCity #DefendWeelaunee.”
FOX 5 Atlanta reported that protesters with the “Stop Cop City” movement have been camping out on the property since last year to show opposition to the “expansion of the police state.” These self-identified “forest defenders” have put metal stakes in trees to make them dangerous to cut down.
In May, Atlanta police arrested eight protesters accused of tossing Molotov cocktails at officers escorting construction workers to the site of the facility, and the FBI was on scene amid a “concerted effort” by actors from at least seven other states committing criminal acts to stop the build.
“Over the past several months, law enforcement has made several arrests for ongoing criminal activity at the site, including carjacking, various crimes against persons, destruction of property, arson, and attacks against public safety officials,” GBI posted on Twitter this week.
Fox News’ Danielle Wallace contributed to this report
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