Video has unveiled Sunday’s attack on the future site of an Atlanta police training facility, showing extremists throwing rocks and fireworks at police officers as they set fire to construction equipment at the site.
At around 5:30 pm on Sunday, a large group of extremists, many of which wore masks and black bloc, descended upon the construction site of the future Atlanta Public Safety Training Center, setting fire to construction equipment and attacking police officers.
Surveillance footage from the Atlanta Police Department showed officers standing in the construction site as the group of extremists marched towards them from the woods. As the large group entered the site, police officers were forced to pull back as smoke was seen in the air.
The large group, some of whom were seen with homemade shields, closed the gate to the construction site and barricaded it, and began throwing fireworks and a barrage of rocks at the officers, who were stationed across the street. One of the fireworks was seen sparking a fire in the grass nearby, which spread throughout the span of the video.
The group overturned a UTV as well as portable toilets, setting both the UTV and a front loader construction vehicle ablaze. Another fire was seen burning in the background, though it is currently unclear what was set on fire.
The group eventually retreated into the woods behind the site. In a statement, Atlanta police said that 35 people had been arrested so far in connection to the attack.
The attack marks the latest from the Atlanta autonomous zone, where so-called "forest defenders" who have been camping out in the woods where the training facility is set to be built are using violence to prevent the building of what they call "cop city."
Numerous extremists have been arrested and charged with domestic terrorism, and in January one extremist was shot and killed by police after he pulled a gun on them.
In a Sunday press conference, a police spokesperson said that the group had been gathered earlier in the day for another event, and eventually traveled to the training site armed with fireworks, rocks, and Molotov cocktails, launching a "coordinated" attack against officers.
The spokesperson said that in addition to local police departments, they have been joined by the Georgia Bureau of Investigation as well as the FBI "and we are making the appropriate charges as we speak."
"Actions such as this will not be tolerated," he said. "When you attack law enforcement officers, you damage equipment, you are breaking the law. This was a very violent attack."
"This wasn’t about a public safety training center. This was about anarchy, and this was about the attempt to destabilize and we are addressing that quickly."
The spokesperson said that no officers were injured, though some "minor discomforts" were reported and they were ween by medical authorities at the staging area.
"This is not a protest," the spokesperson later added. "…This is not appropriate. This is criminal activity. And the charges that will be brought forth will show that. When we through commercial grade fireworks, when we throw Molotov cocktails, large rocks, a number of items at officers, you’re only intending to harm."
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