US: 23 protesters, including a Canadian, charged with 'domestic terrorism'

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US: 23 protesters, including a Canadian, charged with “domestic terrorism”

An image provided by Atlanta Police showing burnt down construction equipment, March 4, 2023.

More than 20 people, including a Frenchman and a Canadian, were charged Monday in the United States with “domestic terrorism” after participating in violence against a construction site intended to house a police training megacenter in Atlanta, according to the forces. order.

The project has been hotly contested since it was launched in 2021 and anger among opponents has grown after the January death of an activist in a clash with police .

On Sunday night, a group of violent agitators used the pretext of a peaceful protest […] to carry out a coordinated attack on construction equipment and police officers, police in Atlanta, in the south of the country, said in a statement.

After participating in a nearby festival, they dressed in black, entered the construction site and started throwing stones, bricks, Molotov cocktails and fireworks at the police officers, she added.

No officers were injured, but construction machinery was set on fire, the Atlanta police chief said , Darin Schierbaum, at a press conference.

After reporting 35 arrests, the police announced on Monday the indictment of 23 people, from all over the United States but also from France and Canada, for domestic terrorism.

The charge, which carries up to 35 years in prison, had already been upheld by Georgia state judiciary in previous scuffles around the site as violent protesters moved on. #x27;ordinary prosecuted for charges related to the nature of their acts (intrusion, vandalism, destruction, violence, etc.).

Since 2021 and the first announcement of the construction of a training center, intended for the police but also for firefighters and rescuers, on more than 34 hectares in a wooded area of ​​​​the metropolis, protest has been mounting against the project.< /p>

An image provided by Atlanta police showing officers dismantling a protesters' tent in a wood near the future training center for law enforcement.

Sometimes installed in trees destined to be felled, opponents denounce a future environmental disaster and a waste of money in favor of the police, which would not meet the real needs of the inhabitants.

On January 18, Manuel Esteban Paez Teran, a 26-year-old protester who was camping in a wood intended to be partially razed, was killed by the police.

According Georgia authorities said a state trooper was first shot in the stomach by a shot from Manuel Esteban Paez Teran, before law enforcement responded. Other demonstrators reject the police version, highlighting the pacifist profile of the activist.

An independent autopsy revealed that Manuel Esteban Paez Teran had been hit by 13 shots coming from different weapons, assured the family lawyers.

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