July 19, 2023 – Black Rose Anarchist Federation / Federación Anarquista Rosa Negra
On January 18, 2023 a multi-agency task force moved to clear out an ongoing tree-sit protest in Atlanta, Georgia. In the opening minutes of this operation, Georgia State Troopers shot and killed a tree sitter.
The tree sitter, Manuel Paez Teran, also known as Tortuguita or Tort, was a participant in an ongoing occupation of the Atlanta (Weelaunee) Forest. The objective of the forest occupation is to prevent the construction of ‘Cop City’, a state-of-the-art, 381-acre police urban warfare training facility. The as yet unbuilt facility has so far drawn $90 million dollars in funding from a combination of tax dollars and corporate sponsorship.
Since the project was announced, residents of Atlanta have demonstrated and registered their anger over its secretive development, its likely impacts on local wildlands, its misuse of public resources, and the certainty that it will increase the presence of heavily armed police in the area.
Already, a number of tree sitters have been arrested and charged with felony crimes accompanied by domestic terrorism enhancements. This represents a grave escalation in the use of legal force and demonstrates just how far the state is willing to go to criminalize even non-violent dissent.
In the wake of the massive George Floyd Uprising, along with the many anti-police uprisings that preceded it, the state has a determined interest in militarizing its security apparatus. There’s no doubt that increasing the use of militaristic training and equipment will result in intensified violence aimed at everyday people, particularly those who are Black and Brown. And such facilities and new funding will only further strengthen and shield a profession filled with perpetrators of misogynist and white supremacist violence.
Additionally, as we barrel headlong into climate catastrophe, we can not overlook the destruction of nearly 400 acres of forested land belonging to the Muscogee people. This is but one example of the rapacious drive for development that is hastening climate breakdown, rooted in the very foundations of the settler-colonial United States.
As members of Black Rose Anarchist Federation / Federación Anarquista Rosa Negra, our hearts break over the police killing of Tort and the toll that the defense of the forest has so far taken. We extend our solidarity to the Stop Cop City and Defend Atlanta Forest movements. Finally, we wish strength for Tort’s friends and family and a renewed vigor for the broader movement.
An attack on one movement is an attack on all. Time after time, popular resistance has shown the police’s plans can be defeated. We can do it again.