Scenes from the front lines of the Atlanta protests

Scenes from the front lines of the Atlanta protests


Content Warning: racism, depictions and images of assault and violence

Editor’s note: All protesters with their faces visible in this photo essay either gave their direct consent to the photographer or identified themselves with the Atlanta Police Department.

On Friday, May 29, a large protest was organized in Atlanta by a group of college students over the death of George Floyd and continued police brutality against people of color. This protest is one of hundreds that have broken out in the U.S. and around the world since Floyd was killed by a white police officer in Minneapolis on May 25.

While the Atlanta march ended peacefully, some protesters moved closer to the CNN Center where they were met with a police line. Police left behind police vehicles that were burned by protesters, and eventually protesters were pushed back by police using riot shields. Protesters and police clashed throughout the evening, with some looting occurring in nearby areas and police using tear gas and other crowd control methods against protesters.

In the days that followed, police and protesters would confront each other numerous times, particularly before a newly instated 9 p.m. curfew. There was no more looting reported throughout the week and a half of protests that followed.

Atlanta is a home both to the civil rights movement as well as to monuments of Confederate generals. Protesters have demanded improved police training, defunding the police, as well as for statues around the states’ capitol, one of a Ku Klux Klan leader, to be removed. While the mayor of Atlanta, Keisha Lance Bottoms, has agreed to some of the Obama 21st Century Policing recommendations, little else has been done to answer the demands of ongoing protests.

These are photos captured since that Friday of protests all over the metro Atlanta area.

Friday, May 29

A protester holds up a sign in front of the Georgia state capitol on May 29.
A protester holds up a sign in front of the Georgia state capitol.
A police officer holds protesters back in front of the CNN center.
Blue light from a police vehicle reflects off a Black Lives Matter sign held up by a protester.
A protester holds a Black Lives Matter flag on top of the CNN sign in downtown Atlanta.
A protester stands on top of a burning police cruiser while holding onto a riot shield.
A police cruiser burns as protesters watch on.

Saturday, May 30

Protesters hold up their fists to Georgia state patrol officers, blocking off an entrance to the highway in downtown Atlanta.
A police officer holds up a riot shield as curfew approaches near Centennial Olympic Park.
A protester holds up a Black Lives Matter sign in front of a police line.

Sunday, May 31

A police officer moves back protesters after using tear gas on crowds prior to curfew.
Lieutenant Kevin Knapp of the Atlanta police holds hands and marches with a protester in an attempt to get protesters to disband after a 9 PM curfew.
A protester confronts Knapp and a SWAT Commander on issues of police brutality in front of the Olympic rings.

Tuesday, June 2

A protester holds a Black Lives Matter sign in front of the Georgia state capitol building
Georgia state patrol officers hold a line against protesters outside of the Georgia capitol building.
Georgia state patrol officers fired tear gas and flash-bang grenades at peaceful protesters before the curfew began.
A police officer prepares a tear gas canister for use against protesters after nine p.m.

Thursday, June 4

A protester embraces a Black business owner outside of his store downtown.
A protester and police officer hug after reuniting at protests over the death of George Floyd.
A protester holds up a sign condemning systemic violence.
A protester holds up their fist in a march downtown.
A member of the press videos protesters standing behind a police barricade.
A police officer and protester discuss police brutality and other policing issues over a barricade.
A local rapper, Feenyx, records a music video as police prepare to enforce a 9 p.m. curfew.
An Atlanta SWAT commander talks with a protester about police brutality against people of color, while walking the protesters back to their car after a 9 p.m. curfew.
A sign left behind by protesters stands on a concrete pillar, in front of National Guard troops.

About Author

Nathan Posner

nap98 Nathan Posner is a rising sophomore in the college, studying government with minors in film & media studies and statistics. Nathan spends most of his time doing digital and photo work for campaigns as well as covering sports, protests, and other events. He was born and raised in Atlanta, GA.

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