Kemp declares state of emergency, calls up National Guard over 'Cop City' protesters

Gov. Brian Kemp, seen here at his inauguration on January 12, 2023, declared a national emergency Thursday in response to protesters of the so-called "Cop City." (Matthew Pearson/WABE)

Gov. Brian Kemp signed an executive order Thursday afternoon declaring a state of emergency and called up authority to use the National Guard in response to the protesters opposed to a controversial public safety training center that critics have dubbed “Cop City” and DeKalb County’s land swap with Blackhall Real Estate Phase II LLC.

A spokesperson for the governor said there are no plans to mobilize the 1,000 Guard members as of yet, and the order is a precautionary measure.

In the order, Kemp cites a protest that took place in downtown Atlanta over the weekend against the death of an environmental activist who was killed by authorities earlier this month. Six people were arrested and charged with domestic terrorism after the protest became destructive.

In Kemp’s State of the State address on Wednesday, he labeled the protesters “out-of-state rioters” who “tried to bring violence to the streets of our capital city.”

This is a developing story.