ATLANTA — Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms's office released a statement early Saturday afternoon, expressing her displeasure and disappointment over the actions of those who allowed Friday night's protests to devolve into violence.
The initially-peaceful protests centered around the death of George Floyd at the hands of a Minneapolis police officer last Monday. The protesters were also interested in including a message regarding the recent deaths of Breonna Taylor in Louisville, Ky., and Ahmaud Arbery in Brunswick, Ga.
Though Friday afternoon's protests began peacefully, later in the evening, they devolved into looting and violence which continued through the night in parts of downtown Atlanta and Buckhead.
Mayor Bottoms, along with civic, religious, social and other community leaders came together to implore the protesters to go home as opposed to continuing their efforts in the city.
The mayor's message on Saturday continued to emphasize her message from Friday night, pointing out that while people are clearly angry over the senseless deaths of Floyd, Taylor and Arbery, the devastating events that took place Friday night and early Saturday were not going to be tolerated.
“What we saw overnight was not a protest, and it was not Atlanta. We as a people are strongest when we use our voices to heal our city instead of using our hands to tear it down. We know our citizens are angry. We are angry and we want justice. If we are to enact change in this nation, I implore everyone to channel their anger and sorrow into something more meaningful and effective through non-violent activism.
“What started out as a peaceful demonstration, quickly turned into mayhem and unnecessary destruction, and ultimately an assault on businesses that are already struggling to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic.
“This morning we began mobilizing City leadership and resources to help our city recover from the devastating events that took place last night.
“The Department of Public Works deployed crews early this morning to begin cleaning up our streets in the downtown and Buckhead areas of the city and our public safety officials are working to keep our businesses and communities safe. The Department of Transportation is working to remove graffiti from public buildings in those areas as well. We also coordinated with neighboring jurisdictions to provide additional public safety resources and with the Governor’s office to provide assistance from the National Guard to help with our recovery.
“Now more than ever, I am calling on our communities to come together to show our strength as One Atlanta through prayer and working together to restore and heal our city as an example for the nation.”
The mayor asked Gov. Brian Kemp for his assistance, in activating the Georgia National Guard in order to help maintain order in the city.
The governor declared a state of emergency in Fulton County and called up 500 members of the National Guard to help with crowd control.
Damage in Atlanta following Friday night's violent protests
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