Police and prosecutors have used every tool in their arsenal to crush the spreading movement against Atlanta’s Cop City.

By Cody Bloomfield, Truthout

In the woods outside Atlanta on the night of March 5, some demonstrators may have slipped into the fold of an ongoing, protest-themed music festival after returning from a march to the construction site of a planned $90 million militarized police training facility known as “Cop City,” where they allegedly set a bulldozer alight and vandalized construction equipment.

stop cop city they can't kill us all banner at demonstration 2

Cops allege the demonstrators flung bricks, fireworks and Molotov cocktails at police. Given the emerging details of official misinformation and omission surrounding the police-perpetrated killing of Manuel Esteban Paez “Tortuguita” Terán, there’s reason to be skeptical of police accounts.

Regardless of what happened at the construction site, the police response soon extended far beyond the cohort of demonstrators taking direct action. Cops flooded the fringes of the music festival after the construction site protest. As music festival attendees began to run, police threatened to shoot. They dropped tear gas canisters in a parking lot, and began detaining and IDing people at random. Attendees’ cellphone videos show the police giving chase, then tasing one music festival attendee, who collapses to the ground.

In the chaos, not even “Defend the Atlanta Forest” activists were certain who had marched to the construction site and who had merely soaked up sunlight at the music festival. As reported by The Interceptarrest warrants pointed to muddy shoes as an indicator of guilt — muddy shoes, at an outdoor music festival. To many activists, this appeared an unreliable method of separating the folks who may have been involved in direct action from the music festival attendees.

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