Escalating Protest at the Detention Center
Several MADSA and YDSA members joined a large crowd of people who returned to the sidewalk in front of the Atlanta Detention Center (245 Peachtree St. SW) for a “noise protest” following the huge Families Belong Together rally and march. Called by the IWW General Defense Committee and other groups, the action quickly morphed into an “occupation,” setting up what was to be a tent city until Monday’s City of Atlanta Council meeting, at which time the mayor will decide whether or not to end the city’s partnership with ICE. Other demands included shutting down the Detention Center, repurposing the building into something that benefits the community and reallocating the $30 million spent annually on its operation; ending the GILEE program, which runs through Georgia State University; and that Cobb, Gwinnett, Hall, and Whitfield counties, as well as the Georgia Department of Corrections, end 287(g), which makes it easier to deport immigrants.
However, police quickly arrived and confiscated almost all the protesters’ tents, water, a couch and other possessions – except for the historic Occupy Atlanta tent, which was proudly carried in a picket line that blocked an intersection. The police arrested one person before withdrawing. Occupiers remained through the night. As darkness fell, illuminated messages such as “No one is illegal” mysteriously appeared on the side of the detention center. MADSA raised over $100 for the protesters. For an excellent detailed eyewitness account by Daniel Hanley and a link for donating, see the MADSA Facebook page.
UPDATE: All Out Atlanta posted on Facebook: “Last night [7/1] we successfully pushed back against police attempts to clear us out. Police charged into camp and shoved, groped and dragged demonstrators while destroying tents. Cops were pushed out and tarps replaced. The occupation has called again for a demonstration . . . tonight [7/2] at 7pm.” The occupation site was cleared by police Monday afternoon, with no new arrests. Daniel reported that meanwhile, the City Council “unanimously voted for the resolution [to cancel the city’s ICE contract] but there was virtually no discussion and it was very limited in scope. It isn’t permanent and it doesn’t address the 158 people there now.”