September 11, 2023
ATL Faith Leaders Detained After Protest To Defy Stop Cop City RICO
While one could assume that the recent RICO indictment of many prominent activists involved in the Stop Cop City movement would lessen the protest campaign’s intensity, a new protest instance has raised support. Several faith leaders were taken into custody after chaining themselves to a bulldozer at the protest area in solidarity with those charged, as reported by The Intercept.
On Aug. 29, Georgia prosecutors charged over 61 advocates for the Defend the Atlanta Forest Protest in what was deemed “extreme” cases of racketeering, creating an outcry amongst other activists and the general public decrying an inaccurate perception of the protestors’ mission.
However, the harsh charges are not thwarting the movement but instead building an even stronger coalition dedicated to stopping what they consider a grave injustice to the predominately Black neighborhood where the cop training facility and its alleged negative environmental impact would be established.
The faith-based protestors, five in total, were subsequently taken into custody for their peaceful demonstration. Two of whom were part of the clergy for the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Atlanta. The Dekalb County Police’s response to their protest, including possible charges against them, also contributes to the alleged growing pattern of excessive maltreatment of individuals advocating for social causes by governmental agencies.
One of the faith leaders arrested assured fellow supporters in a statement that they would not be discouraged by this looming threat.
“Despite the repressive tactics of authorities who wish to disenfranchise the community and charge protestors with domestic terrorism and RICO, people of faith will continue to act to resist the militarization of our society,” shared Rev. Dave Dunn of the Metro Atlanta North Congregation.
The religious leaders’ inclusion in the efforts to Stop Cop City hopes to encourage all not to allow state repression to stop them from enacting change in the community. Darcy, an involved participant in the protest, claimed this action was significant to keep the mission going,
“By shutting down Cop City construction today, clergy and students showed that everyday people can take bold actions to block this facility from being built and that our biggest protection against repression is a movement that wins.”