Although many on the left essentially claim that Antifa does not exist, the communities being targeted by the violent and destructive protesters who identify with the group’s extremist ideology understand how dangerous it is. Now, one prominent Republican is determined to address the issue head-on.
In a new executive order signed this week, Republican Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp declared a state of emergency in response to recent clashes between left-wing activists and Atlanta police. Protesters were initially expressing their opposition to a police training center in the city.
Civil unrest across the city reached a breaking point following the death of a protester earlier this month. Days later, Antifa reportedly called for a “Night of Rage” among its affiliates, who responded by destroying property and even setting a police cruiser ablaze.
Violence and unlawful destruction of property are not acts of protest. They are crimes that will not be tolerated in Georgia and will be prosecuted fully.
— Governor Brian P. Kemp (@GovKemp) January 22, 2023
Six suspects were arrested in the wake of the riot on Jan. 21 and face various charges including domestic terrorism and arson. Only one of those arrested is from Georgia.
Although authorities were able to restore some semblance of order to the streets, the situation remains volatile — particularly in downtown Atlanta.
In the wake of a subsequent police-related shooting in Memphis, Tennessee, that left Tyre Nichols dead, some Atlanta officials are concerned that the outrage will reignite the turbulence in their city.
Kemp wrote in his five-page order that, after meeting with law enforcement and first responders, he determined that further action was “necessary and appropriate to protect public peace and provide for the safety and welfare of Georgia’s citizens, visitors, and property.”
His action provides for the possibility of calling up as many as 1,000 National Guard troops, giving them “the same powers of arrest and apprehension as do law enforcement officers to be exercised with caution and only if the circumstances demand the exercise of such powers to protect the safety of persons and property.”
For its part, the Atlanta Police Department offered a statement acknowledging that Nichols’ death is likely to spark further protests.
“Police officers are expected to conduct themselves in a compassionate, competent, and constitutional manner and these officers failed Tyre, their communities, and their profession,” the agency explained. “We ask that demonstrations be safe and peaceful.”