Emergency declared and National Guard deployed in Atlanta amid Black Lives Matter protests

atlanta protests

Georgia Governor Brian Kemp has ordered National Guard troops to deploy in Atlanta, after rioters ransacked the state police headquarters. Shootings in the city have doubled in the wake of protests against police brutality.

Some 1,000 soldiers will be deployed to protect the state Capitol, the governor’s mansion, and the Department of Public Safety building that was vandalized over the weekend, Kemp announced Monday.

“Peaceful protests were hijacked by criminals with a dangerous, destructive agenda. Now, innocent Georgians are being targeted, shot, and left for dead. This lawlessness must be stopped and order restored in our capital city,” said Kemp said.

The governor’s decision to deploy troops was “outrageous and will endanger lives,” said state senator Nikema Williams, who chairs the Georgia Democrats.

She said Kemp, a Republican, was using the National Guard for the “selfish purpose” of protecting government buildings, rather than people’s lives.

Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms has yet to comment on the deployment. She announced on Monday afternoon that she had tested positive for the coronavirus.

Earlier, she pleaded with the citizens to stop the violence that claimed the lives of four people over the weekend. One of them was Secoriea Turner, an 8-year-old girl.

“This random wild, Wild West shoot-‘em-up because you can, has gotta stop. It has to stop,” she said, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

Between May 31 and June 27, some 93 people were shot in Atlanta – nearly double the number from the same time in 2019, the AJC reported.

On top of the protests over the death of George Floyd in Minnesota, Atlantans were also outraged by the police killing of another African-American man, Rayshard Brooks, who was found drunk and asleep in a drive-through of a Wendy’s restaurant and stole a Taser from one of the officers while resisting arrest.

Protesters later torched that Wendy’s and on Saturday set up barricades around the destroyed restaurant. The child was killed when the car she was traveling in tried to get around the barricades and at least two men opened fire.

Atlanta police have drastically curtailed their activities after the two officers involved in the death of Brooks were charged with murder by the local local district attorney. Governor Kemp sided with the police and demanded that Bottoms get things under control.

‘You can’t blame it on police’, Atlanta mayor says after 8yo black girl shot dead

The mayor of Atlanta, Georgia gave an impassioned plea to disclose any information on the gunmen who shot up a car, killing an eight-year-old black girl inside, during a BLM protest.

The shooters need to be brought to justice, because as long as they are roaming free, they pose a threat to everyone, Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms said during an emotional press conference on Sunday. Staying silent regarding people like them will not keep people safe, and violence undermines the cause that has gained momentum in the past weeks, she said.

“In the civil rights movement there was a defined common enemy. We are fighting the enemy within. We are shooting each other on our streets. You have shot and killed a baby,” she said.

The tragedy happened on July 4th near the Wendy’s restaurant where an African American man, Rayshard Brooks, was fatally shot by an Atlanta police officer less than a month ago. The restaurant was later torched as the location became a popular protest site.

On Saturday, a crowd of protesters gathered there and erected barricades. A car tried to enter the area to find a place to park, but was blocked by the activists.

In the ensuing confrontation, at least two people in the crowd opened fire at the vehicle, hitting Secoriea Turner, 8, police said. She was taken to Atlanta Medical Center, where she died from her wounds.

Bottoms, who is black, spoke next to Secoriea’s grief-stricken family to urge that the gunmen be handed over to law enforcement.

“You don’t want in the street somebody who would shoot into a car randomly. If you know them, you need to turn them in,” she said. “You can’t blame it on police officers. You cannot say it is about criminal justice reform. This is about some people carrying weapons, who shot up a car with an eight-year-old baby. For what?”

Secoriea was one of two dozen people shot in Atlanta on Saturday, and one of three who were killed by firearms, the mayor said during the press conference. The protesting community needs to acknowledge that it needs reform just as the police do, she added.

Her words angered some commenters online, who took it as a case of ‘whataboutism’, and an attempt to use the tragic death of a child to gaslight those protesting against police brutality.

Others simply said Bottoms has failed as a mayor and needs to resign as she has lost control of the city.



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