Above photo: Fight Back! News/staff.
Atlanta, GA – On the afternoon of November 11, about 200 community members gathered outside of the Atlanta city hall to demand an end to the Georgia International Law Enforcement Exchange (GILEE) program and an end to the construction of the $90 million police training facility known as Cop City.
According to Georgia State University, GILEE is, “a joint project of Georgia State University and local, state, federal, and international law enforcement, and public safety agencies. GILEE’s mission is to enhance law enforcement executive development and international cooperation.”
In reality this program allows for the exchange of tactics and weapons between racist police forces in Georgia who occupy and violently attack Black communities and the terrorist Israeli occupation forces who are carrying out a genocide upon the Palestinian people.
GILEE has existed for over three decades and is run by the Zionist Dr. Robert Friedmann, a professor at Georgia State University. As recently as June, 12 Georgia police chiefs and command staff, three Georgia sheriffs, the former director of the Georgia Bureau of Investigation, as well as members of the Department of Justice, Georgia Public Safety Training Center and Georgia Department of Public Safety traveled to Israel to receive training. On that trip they were mainly hosted and trained by Israeli Lieutenant Colonel JR Davidov, who recently died during the Al Aqsa Flood operation that was launched by the heroic Palestinian resistance in October.
Opponents of GILEE and Cop City are natural allies, as there is no doubt that Israeli occupation forces would travel to Cop City for training if it were built.
The rally was organized by the Atlanta Alliance Against Racist and Political Repression and was co-sponsored by Palestine Action US, Black Alliance for Peace, Climate Justice Committee and Freedom Road Socialist Organization. Protesters held signs that read “End U.S. aid to Israel” and “From Atlanta to Palestine: occupation is a crime!” which were met with a consistent stream of supportive honking from cars driving by. The rain did not deter anyone in attendance from making their voices heard, as they belted our chants such as “They got tanks, we got gliders! Glory to all the resistance fighters!” and “There is only one solution! Intifada, revolution!”
A member of Black Alliance for Peace spoke about the “skills” exchanged between the Israeli occupation and Georgia police, “They share the worst practices. Practices that are used to promote the militarization and occupation of colonized communities throughout the U.S. These practices include racial profiling, extrajudicial killings, and Cop City. In occupied Palestine they have a ‘Little Gaza’ a mock neighborhood to practice urban warfare.” This mock town is exactly what Cop City is proposed as, a training ground to repress uprisings like the George Floyd Rebellion of 2020.
David Jones and Laith Abdel Hader with the Atlanta Alliance Against Racist and Political Repression gave a speech in both English and Arabic, stating, “The people of Gaza have been saying ‘Heaven is closer than the Sinai desert.’ They are determined to win or die fighting, and there is no other option. Palestinians and their resistance are not going anywhere, and this pathetic attempt by Israel will only fuel the flames of struggle which will burn the occupation down.”
Taylor Cook, an organizer with the Atlanta District of the Freedom Road Socialist Organization, further drew the connection between Palestinian liberation and the national liberation struggles within the U.S., “We are here to demand an end to the GILEE program, because lest we forget that it was from Israeli occupation soldiers that Derek Chauvin learned and used the knee on the neck tactic on George Floyd, and it was teargas canisters from Israel used to choke us out when we took to the streets during the George Floyd Rebellion. We know that the struggle to stop Cop City is intertwined with the Palestinian struggle.”
From the campus of Georgia State University to the streets of Atlanta, it is clear that the people oppose the GILEE program and the use of Cop City by Israeli occupation forces, should it be built. The protest dispersed safely after attendees vowed to continue to stand unconditionally with the Palestinian liberation struggle and to do all they can to end U.S. aid to the Zionist occupation of Palestine.