By Sean Keenan
As groups of pro-Trump activists gear up to rally across the nation this weekend in protest of what they consider a fraudulent election, the City of Atlanta is preparing to protect some of its homeless residents from the demonstrations.
Across the street from Georgia statehouse, in downtown Atlanta, many homeless people take refuge at the stoop of the Central Presbyterian Church. They’ve been disturbed in recent weeks as demonstrators with guns and MAGA hats invade their space to raise a ruckus in an attempt to “stop the steal” — to call foul on President-elect Joe Biden’s legitimate election win.
On Sunday, Trump supporters are expected to convene at state capitols across the nation for what organizers are calling an “armed march.”
So, after parishioner Jackson Faw appealed for help, the City of Atlanta announced it will activate its emergency warming center at 450 Capitol Avenue to allow the homeless to avoid the demonstrators and the drama that accompanies them.
“In advance of that, they will deploy outreach teams with flyers and information to this area to inform individuals of the warming center opening and to alert them of the expected demonstrations and risk,” Atlanta City Councilwoman Carla Smith said in an email to Faw.
It’s unclear if the Trump supporters will limit their activism to the planned Sunday rally, although Cathryn Marchman, head of the city’s homeless outreach agency Partners for Home, said in an email, “We will continue operations, as needed, through inauguration day and beyond.”
On Jan. 6, as a violent mob of Trump fans raided the nation’s Capitol, an armed militia’s presence at the Georgia statehouse forced Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, who’s been a target for conspiracy theorists doubting the election result, to evacuate the building.
City officials hope that providing a safe place to stay during the potential unrest should keep Atlanta’s most vulnerable residents out of harm’s way.
(Header image, via Jackson Faw: A screenshot from a YouTube video shows a militia leader putting up his middle finger when asked to put on a mask.)