PHOTOS: Atlanta leaders respond amid cleanup in Downtown and Buckhead after night of chaos

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A roundup of statements from Atlanta officials and organizations in the wake of last night’s violent protests in Downtown and Buckhead. Our contributing photographer Asep Mawardi and Central Atlanta Progress also provided photos of the cleanup efforts in Downtown and Buckhead in the gallery above.

Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms
“What we saw overnight was not a protest, and it was not Atlanta. We as a people are strongest when we use our voices to heal our city instead of using our hands to tear it down. We know our citizens are angry. We are angry and we want justice. If we are to enact change in this nation, I implore everyone to channel their anger and sorrow into something more meaningful and effective through non-violent activism.

“What started out as a peaceful demonstration, quickly turned into mayhem and unnecessary destruction, and ultimately an assault on businesses that are already struggling to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic.

“This morning we began mobilizing City leadership and resources to help our city recover from the devastating events that took place last night.

“The Department of Public Works deployed crews early this morning to begin cleaning up our streets in the downtown and Buckhead areas of the city and our public safety officials are working to keep our businesses and communities safe. The Department of Transportation is working to remove graffiti from public buildings in those areas as well. We also coordinated with neighboring jurisdictions to provide additional public safety resources and with the Governor’s office to provide assistance from the National Guard to help with our recovery.

“Now more than ever, I am calling on our communities to come together to show our strength as One Atlanta through prayer and working together to restore and heal our city as an example for the nation.”

Atlanta City Council
“Although we represent different districts, we are a reflection of one great city – the city of Atlanta. There are times such as today when it’s imperative that we speak as one Council with one voice. The actions of certain individuals following the peaceful demonstration that occurred on Friday were not a reflection of what we are as a city.

The ability to protest and organize is a fundamental right and one that can create lasting change. There are rightfully shared emotions of grief, anger, and pain following the deaths of George Floyd and other African Americans who unjustly lost their lives because of the actions of law enforcement. While there are clear and deserving reasons for people to protest, damaging property, breaking windows, and setting fires are not a part of Atlanta’s fabric and that behavior cannot be condoned.

We want to express our gratitude toward Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms, the Atlanta Police Department, Chief Erika Shields, EMS staff, Atlanta Fire Rescue, Chief Randall Slaughter, and state and other officials for their response and resilience and for their assistance in de-escalating the tensions during the events from Friday night.

As representatives of the residents of the city of Atlanta, we’re here to help administer change. We’ll continue to be open, accessible, and responsive to the concerns of the constituents in our respective districts. The contact information for each Council member is available on our website.

When we work together, we show that we’re a strong and compassionate city, especially in the face of crisis and heartache. We must always be empathetic toward the needs of the people of our city. The events that happened Friday night were a flashpoint in our city’s history, and we must continue to work hard, collaborate, and make the right kind of effort to move our city ahead.”

Central Atlanta Progress/Atlanta Downtown Improvement District
Last night, citizens gathered in Downtown Atlanta for a protest in response to the murder of George Floyd. Demonstrations unfortunately resulted in significant damage to property, especially throughout the Centennial Park District.

We are broken-hearted that our neighborhood sustained so much destruction but are relieved that widespread recovery efforts are well underway—and that, despite many broken windows, there were no significant injuries. Downtown Atlanta has a long history of serving as the City’s nexus of civic activity, a place where citizens can exercise their rights of free speech and assembly. While last night’s activity is discouraging to those who call Downtown home, be they residents, business operators, or property owners, this community is marked by resilience, will persevere, and will continue its important function as a site of safe, peaceful community gathering.

Please support us from a distance while we repair the heart of Atlanta.

Metro Atlanta Chamber/Choose ATL
“It’s been a tough month. Watching what has happened in our own state, our own city and across the country has been painful. We firmly believe that in metro Atlanta, our differences are our strength. In Atlanta, we come together, we engage in tough conversations, we find solutions and we work together to make our community — and the world — better. We are proud to be called the ‘Black Mecca’ and an international community that welcomes everyone, regardless of race, origin, gender, sexual orientation, religion or creed. This is a legacy that we are committed to holding up and preserving.”

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