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Atlanta officers detain 35 people during clashes with protesters at training center site


Thirty-five people were arrested by officers at a developing police training facility outside Atlanta after they clashed with law enforcement on Sunday, local police said.

It was unclear whether all 35 were under arrest and, if so, what charges were recommended.

The clashes erupted in the late afternoon and were punctuated by a few fires and the sound of firecrackers at the wooded site of the Atlanta Public Safety Training Center in DeKalb County, south of Atlanta.

Police alleged in a statement late Sunday that a group of “outside agitators” showed up, changed into black clothes and mounted a “coordinated attack on construction machinery and police.”

“They started throwing large rocks, bricks, Molotov cocktails and fireworks at the officers,” the Atlanta Police Department said.

Part of the attack focused on the area under construction, the department said.

Organizers and supporters said the clashes took place during a weekend concert, the South River Music Festival, and most attendees were allowed to leave by shuttle bus or their own vehicles.

Organizers did not immediately respond to a request for comment. The Atlanta Solidarity Fund, which helps bail out those arrested during protests, tweeted“The police seem to be going after anyone at the music festival.”

Police said protesters could have caused “bodily harm”.

“Officers exercised restraint and used non-lethal enforcement to make arrests,” police said.

On January 18, police shot and killed a protester later identified as Manuel Esteban Paez Teran but known as Tortuguita. Authorities said he opened fire on a state trooper who was injured but was expected to recover.

Although the shooting was still under investigation, it drew attention to the widespread protests against the facility that were organized under the slogan “Stop Cop City”.

The protesters both say they are concerned about the center’s environmental impact and its symbolism as one of the largest law enforcement training centers in the country at a time when police killings remain a hot topic.

Josh Cradduck contributed.

Joanna Swanson

Joanna Swanson is Europe correspondent at the Thomson Reuters Foundation based in Brussels covering politics, culture, business, climate change, society, economies and inclusive tech. With specific focus in breaking news, she has covered some of the world's most significant stories.