Atlanta protest against shooting death of activist briefly turns violent

By Cheney Orr

ATLANTA (Reuters) - A protest in Atlanta briefly turned violent on Saturday as demonstrators set a police car on fire and smashed windows of buildings.

Marchers had gathered to protest the killing of an activist by law enforcement on Wednesday during a raid to clear the construction site of a public safety training facility that activists have derided with the nickname "Cop City".

The demonstration started peacefully, then abruptly escalated with some protesters throwing fireworks and rocks and smashing buildings' windows with hammers, according to a Reuters witness.

As police moved on the marchers, the violence quickly fizzled without anyone injured. A Reuters photographer saw a protester who was carrying a banner being handcuffed by law enforcement.

The demonstrators were protesting an incident that occurred on Wednesday, when Manuel Teran, 26, was inside a tent and did not comply with officers' "verbal commands" as law enforcement cleared Weelaunee People's Park. Some activists had been camping there since last year to protest the facility.

According to the Georgia Bureau of Investigation (GBI), Teran shot a state trooper and was shot and killed by officers returning fire.

On Friday, GBI released a photo of a handgun police say was in Teran's possession at the time of the shooting.

Opponents of the $90 million project south of Atlanta, which would be built by the Atlanta Police Foundation, say building it would lead to destruction of hundreds of acres of forest and greatly damage the environment.

(Reporting by Cheney Orr in Atlanta, writing by Maria Caspani, Editing by David Gregorio)