Thousands of protesters returned to Downtown Atlanta on Sunday afternoon ahead of a 9 p.m. curfew imposed for a second night by Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms.
MARTA announced it would suspend all rail, bus, streetcar and paratransit services at 9 p.m. on Sunday as part of the curfew extension. Riders should board their last train by 8:30 p.m.; all 38 rail stations will close at 9 p.m.
Sparked by the killing of George Floyd by Minneapolis police, peaceful protests on Friday and Saturday night ended in violence, looting, arson, and vandalism in Downtown and Buckhead.
The Georgia National Guard and Georgia State Patrol joined Atlanta Police officers to patrol the streets again on Sunday following a “zero tolerance” order by Chief Erika Shields. Atlanta Police made 157 arrests on Saturday night alone.
Gov. Brian Kemp issued a state of emergency declaration for the entire state, calling up 3,000 National Guard troops to deploy not only to Atlanta, but Athens, Savannah, and Macon ahead of expected protests.
On Sunday evening, there was a heavy law enforcement presence Downtown and in Buckhead, where there were social media rumors of more protests at Lenox Square. The National Guard has been using the Lenox parking lot as a staging area.
Bottoms and Atlanta Police Department Chief Erika Shields held a press conference just after 6 p.m. to discuss the curfew and announce that two APD officers had been fired for using excessive force during an arrest of two students on Saturday night.
Bottoms said an officer struck by a protester riding an ATV on Saturday night was still in critical condition and hoped he would be able to walk again. The ATV driver was taken into custody.
The mayor said she wanted to remind Atlanta of why the protests were happening, because the message was being lost in the media coverage of the violence. “Our country is in upheaval because of the killing of African Americans by law enforcement across the country.”