Why have there been violent protests in Atlanta?

Protesters set off fireworks outside Atlanta Police Foundation

A protest turned violent in Atlanta on Saturday (21 January) following the death of a 26-year-old environmental activist.

What initially started as a peaceful protest down Atlanta's famed Peachtree Street soon took a turn, with masked activists throwing rocks and fireworks at the skyscraper that houses the Atlanta Police Foundation.

They were also said to set a police car on fire as they continued vandalising other buildings with anti-police graffiti.

According to Reuters, when police moved on the marchers, the violence quickly fizzled out with no one injured.

Seven people between the age of 20 to 34 years were arrested and charged with domestic terrorism and criminal trespass, with additional charges pending.

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Hundreds of people gathered to mourn the death of the non-binary person who went by the name Tortuguita.

Tortuguita, who goes by the pronouns it/they, was killed on Wednesday (18 January) during a raid by authorities to clear the construction site of a public safety training facility.

The Georgia Bureau of Investigation said Tortuguita had shot and injured a state trooper.

Tortuguita was killed by officers returning fire. On Friday, GBI released a photo of a handgun police say was in Tortuguita's possession at the time of the shooting.

Activists have since demanded an independent investigation after questioning the version of events.

Words from Saturday's protest had been widely circulated on social media, with some flyers reading: "Police killed a protester. Stand up. Fight back."

Georgia Gov Brian Kemp thanked the responding officers on Twitter, writing: "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."

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