Nearly two dozen people arrested in connection to the violence at the future site of a police training center in Atlanta on Sunday face domestic terrorism charges, according to authorities.
Atlanta police posted a list of 23 individuals charged with domestic terrorism by the Georgia Bureau of Investigation. The list shows only two of these people are from Georgia, while the rest are from other states as well as France and Canada.
The Associated Press says the domestic terrorism charge is a felony that carries a penalty of up to 35 years in prison.
Police said a group of “violent agitators” wearing all-black “used the cover of a peaceful protest” and conducted a “coordinated attack” at the construction area of the Atlanta Public Safety Training Center, which critics have dubbed “Cop City.”
People launched fireworks and threw large rocks, bricks, and Molotov cocktails during the clash, said police, and some construction equipment caught fire.
Officers “exercised restraint” and used non-lethal enforcement to conduct arrests of at least 35 people, police said. No officers were injured, authorities noted.
“This is a national network, an international group of people that are organized to come to our state to undermine a public safety training center,” Georgia Attorney General Chris Carr said during a Monday morning appearance on Fox News.
The unrest Sunday night marks another crescendo in the clashes with law enforcement by anti-police demonstrators and environmentalists after the $90 million training center was approved by the Atlanta City Council in 2021 and construction began in a forested area.
In a statement, Georgia Republican Governor Brian Kemp said “domestic terrorism will NOT be tolerated in this state,” and pledged, “We will not rest until those who use violence and intimidation for an extremist end are brought to full justice.”