“Stop Cop City” protesters plan to rally at the Fulton County Justice Center on Monday, Nov. 6, to support dozens of people facing racketeering and domestic terrorism charges in connection with protests of Atlanta’s public safety training center.
The rally is set to start at 9 a.m. at 185 Central Ave. An arraignment is scheduled for 9:30 a.m. in Superior Court for the 61 people named in a Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) indictment by Georgia Attorney General Chris Carr.
Some defendants also face attempted arson and money laundering charges.
Carr’s Aug. 29 indictment alleges the defendants belong to “Defend the Atlanta Forest, an anarchist, anti-police, and anti-business extremist organization” that conspired together to stop construction of the Atlanta Public Safety Training Center, known as “Cop City”by opponents.
Protest organizers, free speech and human rights groups have denounced the RICO charges as an intimidation tactic meant to punish and silence a protest movement.
“The RICO charges are clearly baseless, just as the domestic terrorism charges are,” said Kamau Franklin of Community Movement Builders in a news release. Community Movement Builders is an organizer of the rally.
“Criminalizing those participating in a movement against police violence truly demonstrates that there is no such thing in America as freedom of speech or freedom to protest,” Franklin said.
Alex Papali of Boston was one more than 20 people arrested March 5 during a music fest that turned violent at the training center site in the South River Forest in DeKalb County. The music fest was part of a “Week of Action” following the Jan. 18 fatal police shooting of activist Manuel Teran.
Papali was charged with domestic terrorism and is also named in the RICO indictment.
“Anyone concerned about misuse of the legal system by powerful people with a corrupt political agenda is a stakeholder in this fight,” Papali said in the news release.”Standing together to do the right thing is how we win.”
Other sponsors of the Nov. 6 rally include the Atlanta chapter of Showing Up for Racial Justice; Weelaunee Anti-Repression Posse; Tucson Anti-Repression Crew; and Incarcerated Workers Organizing Committee.
The Nov. 6 rally kicks off a “Week of Action to Stop Cop City” by the organizations.
A group called “Block Cop City” is planning a series of events Nov. 10-13 including gathering in the South River Forest for a “mass nonviolent direct action” to try to stop the ongoing construction of the training center.