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Training center, DeKalb land swap protesters to rally in L5P

A protester at a May 14 "Children's March" in East Atlanta Village against the public safety training facility and the adjacent parkland swap. (Photo from Defend the Atlanta Forest Twitter feed.)

By John Ruch

Protesters opposing Atlanta’s public safety training center and a controversial DeKalb County parkland swap will rally on Oct. 14 in Little Five Points as part of a “Weekend of Action.”

The “Stop Cop City” protest movement aims to defend what it and other groups call the Weelaunee Forest, based on what they say is the Native American Muscogee Nation name for the nearby South River. The forest includes the proposed training center site on DeKalb’s Key Road, which protesters have dubbed “Cop City,” and a nearby 40 acres of parkland given to developer Ryan Millsap in a land swap that is under challenge by a community lawsuit. The training center’s lead planner, the Atlanta Police Foundation (APF), says the facility is needed for efficient training and morale-boosting of police and firefighters.

The L5P rally is planned for 4:30 p.m. at Findley Plaza at Moreland and Euclid avenues. “Community members from across Atlanta will rally to demand the plans for Cop City and all destruction of Weelaunee Forest be canceled,” said a Stop Cop City press release.

The rally is part of a “Weekend of Action” proclaimed by various protest movements that frequently operate under the name Defend the Atlanta Forest. The protesters object to environmental impacts and what they fear will be militarized police training. A previous round of such protests in May included a march in East Atlanta Village and a protest at the training center site that led to several trespassing arrests, and another series was held in July.

Protests, that have been ongoing for over a year, have often been peaceful and legal, while others have involved trespassing and vandalism in the forest and at the offices of APF and the training center’s contractors. The Atlanta Police Department has said the Georgia Bureau of Investigation and the FBI are now involved in combating the illegal aspects.


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