Statement: IUPAT condemns escalation of police violence towards the "Defend the Atlanta Forest" protesters

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ContactRyan Kekeris, 410-564-5884, rkekeris@iupat.org

Statement: IUPAT condemns escalation of police violence towards the “Defend the Atlanta Forest” protesters

International Union of Painters and Allied Trades General President Jimmy Williams, Jr. issued the following statement on the escalation of police violence towards the “Defend the Atlanta Forest” protesters:

“As a construction trades union representing over 100,000 workers across the United States, including across the Atlanta metro region, we are saddened to see rapid escalation of force towards protestors of the “Cop City” construction project. 

The right to speak up and peacefully protest is fundamental to our union and to all working people. Since the protests began, we’ve seen violence, including the death of one protester, as well as dozens of arrests and incredulous charges of domestic terrorism in some cases stemming from the “Defend the Atlanta Forest” movement. I believe that these tactics are designed more to quell dissent and to dissuade working people from exercising their rights to protest and demonstrate than they are to legitimately uphold the law.

The IUPAT was proud to stand in solidarity during the height of the pandemic with the Black Lives Matter protests in Washington DC. Today we stand in solidarity with the protesters in Atlanta who are facing egregious and unnecessary violence by the Atlanta Police Force and others for simply disagreeing around matters of public policy.

It has to stop. Our rights as working people must be upheld and we deserve to live in a society free from police violence.”

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THE INTERNATIONAL UNION OF PAINTERS AND ALLIED TRADES (IUPAT)

Represents a growing community of over 140,000 active and retired craftspeople in the United States and Canada. The IUPAT membership extends far beyond the workplace. Recognized as one of the most active unions in the labor movement, IUPAT members help shape their communities in many ways: through an abiding commitment to service, by fighting passionately for workers’ rights that benefit all working families, and through effective worker education and mobilization.

Visit www.iupat.org to learn more