On Wednesday, in unceded Mvskoke Creek land, DeKalb Police, Atlanta Police and Georgia State police raided protests in Atlanta’s Weelaunee Forest shooting and killing 26-year-old forest defender Manuel “Tortuguita” Esteban Paez Teran, who had been protesting “Cop City” a proposed $90M Atlanta police training facility. Tortuguita, also known as “Tort,” was a trained medic, forest defender, coordinated mutual aid, and helped build housing in hurricane-impacted areas of Florida.
The US police killing a climate activist sets a dangerous precedent signaling to us all, especially the police, that it is okay to shoot and kill forest and land defenders, water protectors, and climate activists. Frontline communities protecting the land and water are continually assaulted with rubber bullets, pepper spray, water cannons, and increasingly higher bail and more false charges like domestic terrorism despite remaining non-violent in actions. The struggle against police brutality is directly tied with climate protests. “Cop City” will provide a training facility for police officers to practice urban protest scenarios learning how to better silence uprisings of the oppressed.
People vs. Fossil Fuels condemns all acts of violence against those who are brave enough to stand up for what is just. We condemn the domestic terrorism charges forest defenders in Atlanta were charged with.
We condemn the murder of Tort.
We mourn the loss of our community member Tort and the inhumanity that allows violence like this to continue.