Georgia state Governor Brian Kemp declared a state of emergency on Monday, July 6, following recent violence and unrest in the state capital Atlanta city. The declaration authorizes the deployment of 1000 National Guard troops onto the streets of the city, who will primarily protect state buildings, including the Capitol, the governor's mansion, and the headquarters for the Department of Public Safety. Amid recent unrest, around 100 demonstrators reportedly set fire to a section of the Department of Public Safety's headquarters on Sunday, July 5.
The state of emergency relates in part to recent Black Lives Matter (BLM) protests, which some spokespeople believe have been hijacked by violent participants that take away from the core message.
Over the Independence Day weekend in Atlanta, 31 people were injured in shootings and five were killed, including eight-year-old Secoriea Turner who was killed on Saturday, July 4, near the now burned-out Wendy's restaurant where Rayshard Brooks was killed by a white police officer on June 12. On July 6, Atlanta police erected barriers around the Wendy's restaurant and moved protesters on who had gathered to mourn the deaths of Rayshard and Secoriea.
Further protests and unrest are likely in Atlanta in the near term. A heightened security presence and associated disruptions should also be anticipated.
BLM supporters gathered in Minneapolis (Minnesota state) on May 26 after George Floyd died while being arrested by Minneapolis police officers on May 25. The four arresting police officers were subsequently fired, and one has since been charged with murder. Clashes ensued between protesters and riot police; with demonstrators throwing bricks and projectiles at police and police property, and police responding with tear gas and rubber bullets as they attempted to disperse the crowds. Protests have since spread to a number of cities across the US and worldwide.
Individuals in Georgia are advised to monitor developments, avoid all protests as a precaution, and adhere to all instructions issued by local authorities.
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