ATLANTA — Gov. Brian Kemp has signed an executive order declaring a State of Emergency and authorizing the call-up of up to 1,000 National Guard troops in Georgia.
The troops will be deployed as needed to protect state buildings, including the State Capitol, the Georgia Department of Public Safety headquarters, the governor’s mansion and the Georgia World Congress Center.
National Guard is here at the Capitol after being activated by @GovKemp following a weekend of deadly shootings in Atlanta over the weekend. Troops are protecting state buildings tonight. pic.twitter.com/jDTP9AupoQ— Matt Johnson (@MattWSB) July 7, 2020
#Breaking Gov. Kemp plans to sign an executive order authorizing the call up of up to 1000 National Guard troops to help protect some state buildings, freeing up GSP troopers to help patrol Atlanta streets.— Richard Elliot (@RElliotWSB) July 6, 2020
The goal, according to the governor’s office, is to free up state troopers from those locations so they can help patrol the streets of Atlanta.
“Peaceful protests were hijacked by criminals with a dangerous, destructive agenda. Now, innocent Georgians are being targeted, shot, and left for dead,” Kemp said Monday. “This lawlessness must be stopped and order restored in our capital city. I have declared a State of Emergency and called up the Georgia Guard because the safety of our citizens comes first. This measure will allow troops to protect state property and dispatch state law enforcement officers to patrol our streets. Enough with the tough talk. We must protect the lives and livelihoods of all Georgians.”
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The order comes after a violent weekend across the city of Atlanta. Thirty-one people were shot in 11 incidents between Friday and Sunday. Five people, including an 8-year-old girl, died.
The Georgia State Patrol headquarters were also vandalized by protesters over the weekend.
Department of Public Safety officials told Channel 2 Action News that a group of 60 to 100 protesters dressed in dark clothing and masks came to the headquarters around 1:05 a.m.
“They were armed with bricks, landscaping bricks, Molotov cocktails, fireworks. Their one mission was to destruct property and that is exactly what they did,” said Lt. Stephanie L. Stallings, spokesperson for the Georgia Department of Public Safety.
Protest organizers condemned the violence and insisted the subgroup who split off and caused the damage were not with Black Lives Matter.
“I don’t want them to be here or at any events that we’re doing because they don’t live in this community,” organizer Quinton Davis said.
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