Atlanta Mayor Andre Dickens speaks on CBS's Face the Nation Sunday, Jan. 22, 2023

Atlanta Mayor Andre Dickens speaks on CBS's Face the Nation Sunday, Jan. 22, 2023

Credit: CBS/ Face the Nation / Twitter

A protest turned violent in downtown Atlanta on Saturday night after the death of an environmental activist who was killed this week after authorities said the 26-year-old shot a state trooper.

Atlanta Mayor Andre Dickens said peaceful protests are welcome in Atlanta, but violence will not be tolerated.  

Speaking on CBS’s Face the Nation on Sunday, Dickens said the six people arrested by the Atlanta Police Department Saturday join seven others arrested last week on charges of domestic terrorism and criminal trespass, according to jail records reported by 11 Alive News. 

Who are they? Five of the six arrested Saturday and all seven arrested last week came from other states.

"It should be noted that these individuals were not Atlanta or Georgia residents," Dickens emphasized. "Most of them traveled into our city to wreak havoc."'

As reported by the Associated Press Saturday, masked activists dressed in black threw rocks and lit fireworks in front of a Peachtree Street skyscraper that houses the Atlanta Police Foundation, shattering large glass windows. They then lit a police car on fire and vandalized other buildings with anti-police graffiti.

A police statement said the protesters damaged property at several locations along Peachtree Street, a corridor of hotels and restaurants, adding that arrests were made and “order was quickly restored to the Downtown space.”

The violent protesters were a subsection of hundreds of demonstrators who had gathered and marched up Peachtree Street to mourn the death of the protester, a nonbinary person who went by the name Tortuguita and used they/it pronouns.

Tortuguita was killed last Wednesday as authorities cleared a small group of protesters from the site of a planned Atlanta-area public safety training center that activists have dubbed “Cop City."

The Georgia Bureau of Investigation has said Tortuguita was killed after shooting and injuring a state trooper, but activists have questioned officials’ version of events, calling it a “murder” and demanding an independent investigation.

According to the GBI, the incident was not recorded on body cameras. The GBI said Friday that it determined the trooper was shot in the abdomen by a bullet from a handgun that was in Tortuguita’s possession.

Word of Saturday’s protest had been widely circulated ahead of time on social media and among leftist activists, with some passing out flyers that read, “Police killed a protester. Stand up. Fight back.”