Rolling Stones reports that in “the largest, most sustained attack on free speech since the Civil Rights Movement, Georgia has indicted 61 protestors of Cop City” and Atlanta City officials have tried to shut down residents’ attempts to put “the construction of the facility on a ballot referendum … The Civil Rights Movement was founded on the need to bring attention to long-ignored, suppressed racial inequities. Speech as conduct, in all forms, is a tool for the marginalized, for the unheard.”
But when 100,000 Atlanta residents signed a petition to have the referendum placed on the ballot, the city targeted petition gatherers and a judge ruled that only city residents can help with petition signature collections. One peaceful protestor was killed, with autopsy results showing he was seated with legs crossed and hands up when he was shot by police.
“But it’s not just Georgia that’s criminalizing protest rights. Since 2018, state lawmakers have pushed over 220 anti-protest bills around the country. This is a systemic attack to criminalize and narrow the avenues through which people can make their opinions heard. And these actions will continue to encroach on our rights until more people mobilize against them.”
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