4 ‘Stop Cop City’ Protesters Arrested Outside Controversial Construction Site

The arrests come after dozens of people accused of being involved in the movement were arraigned on Monday.

The Atlanta Police Department on Wednesday arrested four protesters who sat outside of the construction site for the controversial Atlanta Public Safety Center as part of the ongoing “Stop Cop City” movement.

The protesters, all Georgia residents between the ages of 63 and 76 years old, were each charged with criminal trespass and taken to DeKalb County Jail, the APD said in a press release. Their demonstration — which included a sign that read, “Stop the Construction, Let the People Decide” — comes as part of a larger autonomous movement comprised of environmental and social justice advocates hoping to stop the Atlanta Public Safety Center, a $90 million project known by opponents as “Cop City,” from being completed.

Organizers and community members have attempted to voice their concerns through a multitude of mediums such as living in the forest, speaking to the city council in droves for hours on end, passing out flyers, and organizing demonstrations and attempting to allow voters to choose whether or not the facility would be built.

Priscilla Smith, one of the protesters arrested on Wednesday, told HuffPost that their demonstration was a result of not being heard by local leadership.

“I was a high school teacher for 21 years. I always emphasized that if you want to live where your voice matters you have to use your voice, you have to participate,” Smith said. “And they are not listening to the people.”

“Over 116,000 people signed a petition demanding this project come to a vote. Our elected officials are only listening to the rich who want to use militarized police to protect their wealth. Atlanta deserves better,” Smith added.

In a statement to HuffPost, Shelley Nagrani, another one of the protesters arrested Wednesday, voiced concern that the site will lead to the dangerous militarization of police.

“In my lifetime I have watched the police become increasingly militarized and dangerous. Militarization of the police disproportionately impacts Black and Indigenous people, and people of color. I think it is important for white people to stand up and say we will not allow this to continue,” Nagrani said.

Their arrests come just two days after dozens of individuals named in a massive indictment targeting “Stop Cop City” efforts were arraigned on Monday. The Georgia Attorney General’s Office indicted 61 people in connection to the movement and labeled them as “militant anarchists” in August. Each of them face RICO charges, while some of them face domestic terrorism or money laundering charges.

Many critics say that the indictment is anti-democratic and attempts to quell all local activism against the training center.

The Atlanta Police Department did not immediately respond to HuffPost’s request for comment.

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