Republican Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp declared a state of emergency on Thursday following a weekend of riots and arson in Atlanta, according to an executive order.
The executive order activated 1,000 National Guard troops until Feb. 9 to respond to “unlawful assemblage, overt threats of violence, disruption of the peace, and danger existing to persons and property.” Kemp’s order comes after a group of protestors threw rocks and lit fireworks at the Atlanta Police Foundation and burned a police car on Jan. 21, according to the Atlanta Police Department.
“The Georgia Department of Defense troops called to respond to this State of Emergency shall have the same powers of arrest and apprehension as do law enforcement officers to be exercised with caution and only if the circumstances demand the exercise of such powers to protect the safety of persons or property,” the order stated.
The violence on Jan. 21 took place during an event to honor Manuel Teran, a left-wing activist protesting a police training center who was fatally shot after firing at a Georgia State Trooper on Wed. 18, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. While conducting a clearing operation near a location where arrests had been made in December, Teran “disobeyed verbal commands, then opened fire on the officers and troopers,” Atlanta News First reported.
Before the violence started, protesters chanted “no justice, no peace, no killer police,” the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported. At least six individuals were arrested on Jan. 21 and police officers confiscated explosive devices in connection to the violence.
Georgia @GovKemp is declaring a state of emergency after the violent protests this weekend surrounding the Atlanta public safety center. The order authorizes him to deploy up to 1,000 National Guard troops. #gapol pic.twitter.com/4mFWw56hoM
— Greg Bluestein (@bluestein) January 26, 2023
“We’re going to continue to protect the First Amendment,” Darin Schierbaum, Atlanta police chief, told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “We are dedicated to that But we are the law enforcement agency in the city and we’ll use all the resources to address any issue that may arrive.”