#AtlantaProtest2020 was not the protest #AtlForUs Intended

Coverage by Gabriel Ossa, Ricky SweetingJoshua CrumpJudith Y. Kim and Hagen McMenemy

EDITOR’S NOTE: This is an old version of an UPDATED story that was published on June 1, 2020 at 10:30 p.m.

On Friday May 29, 2020, organizers for #AtlForUs intended a peaceful protest and march to the Georgia State Capitol in Atlanta. The plan was to meet downtown at Centennial Olympic Park around 3 p.m., rally up, then begin the march to the Capitol at 3:45 p.m.

At 4:20 p.m., the crowd held a brief moment of silence, then began marching back to Centennial Olympic Park around 5:30 p.m.

At Centennial Olympic Park in Atlanta, two 25-year-old's and their mom contemplate their signs and messaging before the march to the capitol.
Judith Y. Kim | Avant-Youth

What was intended to be a civil, socially distant march metamorphosed into something else entirely in front of the CNN center, where someone threw a brick through a window, loudly shattering the building’s thick glass

Law enforcement officers apparently boxed off the entrance to the best of their abilities, but the numbers eventually overwhelmed them. Eventually, people poured in and began looting.

Protestors hold visceral signs calling for the end of "white silence," police brutality and injustice at the start of their march in Centennial Olympic Park.
Judith Y. Kim | Avant-Youth
A masked demonstrator holds up the black power symbol, protesting the unequal treatment of the deaths of Ahmaud Arbery, George Floyd and Breonna Taylor.
Judith Y. Kim | Avant-Youth
Protestors march towards the State Capitol, decrying the deaths of black men whose cases have been unequally treated in the public eye.
Gabriel Ossa | Avant-Youth
A woman powerfully and defiantly stands in front of law enforcement officers in front of the Capitol, holding a sign: "No more pigs shooting down brothers."
Gabriel Ossa | Avant-Youth
Peaceful protestors march towards the capitol building. The protest was ignited when Derek Chauvin, a Minneapolis police officer, kneeled on the George Floyd's neck. Floyd later died.
Gabriel Ossa | Avant-Youth

The Shatter Heard 'Round the City

A little after 6:30 p.m., the shatter was heard ’round the city as people either took off to their homes or stayed. What followed thereafter became a night of chaos, violence, tear gas and fire – but more importantly felt – of utter rage and despair.

Protestors of all backgrounds keep a watchful eye on the encroaching police blockade in downtown Atlanta.
Ricky Sweeting | Avant-Youth
A civilian car was set on fire during the protests near Centennial Olympic Park. Fire accelerants like gasoline was further thrown around the area, making the heat particularly extreme.
Judith Y. Kim | Avant-Youth
A protestor is unfazed as police begin to deploy tear gas into the crowd.
Ricky Sweeting | Avant-Youth
Black Lives Matter activist (#BLM) demands justice for black men dying during the May 29 riot.
Ricky Sweeting | Avant-Youth
Armored trucks, police in riot gear and SWAT secure the area so that firefighters may extinguish the fire set on three cars by rioters.
Judith Y. Kim | Avant-Youth
Looters ransack a gift shop in downtown Atlanta. The lights were even turned on.
Hagen McMenemy | Avant-Youth
Rioters destroy the windows of Del Frisco's Grille in Buckhead. Hagen McMenemy | Avant-Youth

The city was loud with burglary and fire alarms alike going off, people screaming, gun shots firing into the sky and shouts of protest and tear gas grenades hissing.

By about 12:10 a.m., the streets were clear of many rioters; the fires, extinguished. Every now and then you’d hear another thundering shatter of glass, an after-effect of broken building windows.

An ambulance siren or law enforcement horn would ring about twice an hour, but for the most part, Atlanta could sleep.

Though the rioters and looters were an unintended consequence from the protest itself, at least this much is ensured: Not only were they heard – loud and clear – but they were felt, too.

Support local journalism. Support independent journalism. Support Avant-Youth.

An afternoon protest turns into a violent riot that ransacked different parts of Atlanta and most of downtown. A plume of smoke looms over the city.
Judith Y. Kim | Avant-Youth