Five ‘tree sitters’ arrested on domestic terrorism charges in Georgia police facility protests

Georgia Leaf Season
Fall colors form a canopy of hardwood growth near Helen, Ga., at Anna Ruby Falls Recreation Area in this Sunday, Oct. 16, 2011 photo. The website predicts a large area of near peak fall foliage for much of the Southeast through the Appalachian Mountains and into the upper Ohio Valley. Terrain in the heavily forested area was too difficult for logging so in 1925 the U.S. federal government bought the 1,600 acres from a lumber company and designated it Anna Ruby Falls Scenic Area. (AP Photo/David Tulis) David Tulis/AP

Five ‘tree sitters’ arrested on domestic terrorism charges in Georgia police facility protests

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Five people have been arrested in Atlanta and charged with domestic terrorism after protesting the construction of a future police and fire training facility.

The Georgia Bureau of Investigation announced the arrests on Wednesday, stating that officials had been making arrests relating to the protests over the past several months for “ongoing criminal activity,” such as carjacking, destruction of property, and arson.


Francis Carroll, 22, Nicholas Olsen, 22, Serena Hertel, 25, Leonard Vioselle, 20, and Arieon Robinson were arrested and charged with various offenses, including criminal trespassing, domestic terrorism, aggravated assault, and obstruction. Carroll had the most charges levied against him.

The five individuals were members of the movement Defund the Atlanta Forest, which seeks to protect the lives of tree sitters and preserve the forest in Southeast Atlanta. The area is set for deforestation as the site of the future Atlanta Public Safety Training Center.

The GBI said it went to the forest to clear away obstacles and barricades blocking entrances to the training center on Tuesday. On Wednesday, after the arrests were made, police found explosive devices, gasoline, and road flares in makeshift treehouses.

The group claimed on Tuesday that police were “deploying tear gas, pepper balls, and other dangerous ammunitions” at tree sitters and community members in the area.


Gov. Brian Kemp released a statement on the arrests stating, “We will not stop or slow down when it comes to bringing domestic terrorists to justice in Georgia.” He said the arrests should serve as a “strong reminder of that to anyone threatening our communities,” per 11 Alive.

The Washington Examiner reached out to Defund the Atlanta Forest for comment on the arrests.

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