ATLANTA – The National Lawyers Guild (NLG) and the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) issued statements in response to the arrest of a legal observer on Sunday, March 5 in Atlanta:
“Law enforcement detained at least 35 demonstrators in Atlanta on Sunday, including an NLG Legal Observer. All of these arrests are part of ongoing state repression and violence against racial and environmental justice protesters, who are fighting to defend their communities from the harms of militarized policing and environmental degradation. Each of these instances, including the many protesters charged with domestic terrorism, make clear that law enforcement views movement activists as enemies of the state.
“As trained witnesses of police conduct, NLG Legal Observers serve an important role in supporting movement organizers and activists. NLG is proud to contribute in whatever ways we can to advancing the critical work of our movement allies advocating for liberation and community care. NLG remains in solidarity with the movement to Stop Cop City.”
“An employee at the SPLC was arrested while acting — and identifying — as a legal observer on behalf of the National Lawyers Guild (NLG). The employee is an experienced legal observer, and their arrest is not evidence of any crime, but of heavy-handed law enforcement intervention against protesters.
“This is part of a months-long escalation of policing tactics against protesters and observers who oppose the destruction of the Weelaunee Forest to build a police training facility. The SPLC has and will continue to urge de-escalation of violence and police use of force against Black, Brown and Indigenous communities — working in partnership with these communities to dismantle white supremacy, strengthen intersectional movements and advance the human rights of all people.”