ATLANTA - Governor Brian Kemp said he vows to make more arrests in protests over a controversial training center for Atlanta first responders. Opponents call the area 'Cop City'.
Kemp tweeted out his plan Tuesday after an anonymous activist claimed to set fire to a bank in Oregon in solidarity with demonstrators recently charged with domestic terrorism in Intrenchment Creek Park. The demonstrators were accused of hurling rocks at police and attacking EMTs at a nearby fire station.
"He’s definitely trying to intimidate protesters," Kamau Franklin, the founder of Community Builders Movement said. "This is a further attempt to criminalize the movement to ‘Stop Cop City’."
The governor said the people arrested are part of "a broader network of militant activists who have committed similar acts of domestic terrorism across the country with no regard for the people or communities impacted by their crimes."
"They are demonstrators who are peacefully exercising their first amendment rights without a doubt," Franklin said.
The park has been at the center of a hostile stand-off between police and protestors.
Protestors near the "Cop City" site in southeast Atlanta. (Billy Heath/FOX 5 Atlanta)
Police claim protestors have involved with various types of criminal activity, including carjackings and arson.
"If they’re breaking the law, yeah—you should be arrested for that," homeowner Jorge Welker-Reyes told FOX 5. "But, if you’re doing it peacefully within the parameters allowed, then, yes—they should be able to do it."
Welker-Reyes said he would like to see a compromise between the two sides.
"Somebody from the government and the protesters should get together, find out what they want, and do some negotiations."
Kemp said anyone committing illegal acts while protesting at the site would be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.