By lunch time Monday afternoon people were leaving the Fulton County Justice Center with their white “juror” stickers on their sweaters and jackets. Others were making their way up Central Avenue and into the nearby parking decks located across the street on Martin Luther King, Jr. Blvd. The music they heard was coming from a shaded spot on the corner where a few “Stop Cop City” protesters were situated.
The signs the protesters held read everything from “Let the people decide” to “Good guys protect trees, bad guys kill innocents”. Some of the protestors were familiar faces and had been at rallies earlier this year and last year during the height of the “Stop Cop City” protests and rallies. Monday’s rally consisted of a peaceful gathering in front of the Fulton County Justice Center where 61 people were in court answering Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO) charges stemming from earlier protests where there were interactions with Atlanta Police followed by arrests.
Georgia Attorney General Chris Carr handed down the indictments in September. The 109-page indictment accuses 61 members of a grassroots organization, Defend the Atlanta Forest, of multiple violent acts from 2020 to early this year. Some of the defendants, the majority of which are not Georgia residents, let alone Atlanta/Fulton County residents, are also facing multiple felony charges, including domestic terrorism and attempted arson.
By 1 p.m. the protest consisted of only 10-12 people, two of which were holding a sign that read “Free Palestine.” Cars that drove by and honked their horns were cheered. Earlier that morning there was a spirited planned protest that included dozens of people and public speakers addressing the RICO charges.
One of the people attending the rally held a sign, “Drop the Charges. Drop the Project.”, while he paced up and down the street.
A “Stop Cop City” town hall is scheduled to take place at Atlanta City Hall at 5 p.m.