Following the shootout death of Manuel 'Tortuguita' Teran on January 18th 2023 and subsequent black bloc riot on the 21st members of the Antifa connected Stop Cop City began making calls for a week of action. The week of action has been a repeated tactic over the course of the past year to rally supporters from across the country to make their way to Atlanta and engage in a direct action against the Cop City location as well as tangentially related organizations. This was the 5th Stop Cop City week of action, the planned date was agreed on for March the 4th to the 11th.
The first day of the week of action started with a music festival in the forest near the location of the planned police training facility. The first day was largely uneventful consisting of speeches, music and a march through the nearby Intrenchment Creek Park which did contain violent rhetoric but no violence or vandalism itself.
The second day was not at all peaceful, with clear pre-planning extremists started distributing fliers stating that 'This is not a concert' but a protest. Shortly thereafter many started to change clothing into black bloc, grab shields, firebombs, fireworks, rocks, and other weapons and began marching. This group then walked by those still in attendance at the peaceful concert, there was a clear divide between the black bloc that was ready for violence and vandalism and people at the concert. So much so that Antifa attacked a journalist that was recording and began to join their march from the concert.
The group then walked to the training facility construction area, shooting fireworks and using plastic shields for cover as they marched. Once they reached this area the mob set fire to multiple pieces of construction equipment.
CONSTRUCTION SITE BURNS: Huge plumes of smoke and massive police response after @defendATLforest / #StopCopCity protesters face off with police at the site of Atlanta’s future Public Safety Training Facility. I’m told Molotov cocktails were thrown. Construction equipment is on… pic.twitter.com/0F9qj8dgFn— Billy Heath III (@BillyHeathFOX5) March 5, 2023
While some in the march carried out the vandalism others gave cover by attacking the Atlanta Police officers who were nearby. They attacked police by throwing fireworks, rocks, and molotov cocktails at them. The attack was caught on camera from several perspectives including from a police helicopter that was above. Following the vandalism, the arsonists and rioters quickly ran back to the concert.
Once they returned to the concert, many changed clothing and tried to blend back in with the concert due to the police pursuing them. However, when returning to the concert from the location of the riot, the mob had to traverse through large amounts of mud and a creek. Police stopped many people and used this as well as other factors to separate out those who were just concert attendees from the black bloc mob. Police ended up making 23 arrests.
All 23 arrestees were booked into Dekalb County Jail for domestic terrorism. Of the 23 arrests, only 2 of the 23 were listed as from Georgia. Others came from NYC, Boston, Worcester, Baton Rouge, Colorado, Quebec Canada, France, Arizona, Florida, Connecticut, Wisconsin, North Carolina, Virginia, Utah, and Indiana. This has been a repeated pattern for Stop Cop City, with out of state persons making up the majority of the arrests.
The alleged domestic terrorists came from a variety of backgrounds. The highest profile arrest was a SPLC staff lawyer named Thomas Jurgens. The SPLC is a far left extremist organization that has inspired terror attacks and whose employees associate with terror groups.
In 2012, Floyd Lee Corkins II entered the office of the Family Research council and shot and injured a security guard. During FBI interrogation, Corkins admitted to using a list provided by the SPLC. Despite this terror attack, for which Corkins was sentenced to 25 years in federal prison the SPLC still lists FRC on their website.
Megan Squire who is the 'Deputy Director for Data Analytics & OSINT' at the SPLC has previously been seen leading marches for a John Brown Gun Club, in 2019 a JBGC member named Willem Van Spronsen set off propane bombs and attempted to murder police officers in an ambush style attack, thankfully Spronsen's rifle jammed and he was shot and killed.
Other arrests included
- Frederique Robert-paul from Canada. Social media history shows Robert-paul having an affiliation with Montreal Antifa and a number of other left-wing eco focused groups
- Dimitri Leny from France, who came despite not knowing English
- Max Biederman from Arizona, who shows support for multiple world-wide Antifa groups on Social Media.
- Priscilla Grim from Brooklyn was an organizer with Occupy wall street roughly a decade ago
- Ehret Nottingham, a self proclaimed "Community Organizer" from Fort Collins Colorado
- James Marsicano, a transexual from a massively rich Charlotte family with multiple previous arrests at left wing riots
- Victor Puertas from Utah, a IWW organizer and illegal immigrant with previous riot arrests
- Amin Chaoui from Richmond Virginia
- Alexis Papali from Boston, who works at a non-profit
- Ayla King, the daughter of a left wing activist from Worcester
- Mattia Luini, a dual citizen from an incredibly rich New York family
The next day, 22 of the 23 were denied bond, with SPLC lawyer Thomas Jurgens getting out on a $5,000 bond. These cases will likely move through the courts slowly. In many cases courts and prosecutors have let off left wing extremists despite egregious offenses, however in Atlanta the Democrat Mayor and Republican Governor have both showed resolve against the group and support for the police training facility. AntifaWatch will continue to provide updates on the court cases on social media and for larger stories on AntifaWatch News.