Kemp calls out National Guard following violent protests in Atlanta


ATLANTA – Last weekend’s violent protests in downtown Atlanta have prompted Gov. Brian Kemp to activate up to 1,000 Georgia National Guard troops.

Kemp declared a state of emergency Thursday, citing violence by masked protesters last Saturday that included rock throwing, setting off fireworks and burning a police vehicle.

“Georgians respect peaceful protests but do not tolerate acts of violence against persons or property,” the governor’s order stated.

Six protesters were arrested during the unrest, which came three days after a law enforcement task force led by the Georgia Bureau of Investigation broke up an encampment at the site of the future Atlanta Public Safety Training Center. Manuel Teran, 26, was shot to death inside one of the tents after he shot and wounded a state trooper, according to the GBI.

Kemp mentioned the incidents in his annual State of the State message Wednesday, praising a Fulton County judge for denying bond to four of the six protesters arrested on Saturday and setting bonds of more than $355,000 for the other two.

Under Kemp’s order, the National Guard troops will have the same arrest powers as law enforcement officers, to be exercised only to protect the “safety of persons or property.”

The state of emergency will run through Feb. 9 unless the governor chooses to extend it.