Gov. Brian Kemp has extended a state of emergency declaration until July 27 to keep Georgia National Guard troops in Atlanta to protect state buildings.

Kemp originally deployed 1,000 troops on July 6 after a holiday weekend of violence that saw 30 people shot and five killed, including 8-year-old Secoriea Turner.

A Governor’s Office press release said the soldiers will guard Governor’s Mansion in Buckhead, the State Capitol and the Georgia Department of Public Safety headquarters on United Avenue, which was vandalized by protesters on July 5.

Kemp and Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms have been an escalating war of words over violence in the city and the governor’s handling of the COVID-19 pandemic as cases continue to increase.

Bottoms defied Kemp by issuing her own face mask requirement and rolled back Atlanta’s reopening to phase one, which includes a “stay at home” order. Kemp said both of the mayor’s mandates were “unenforceable.”

Collin Kelley

Collin Kelley has been the editor of Atlanta Intown for two decades and has been a journalist and freelance writer for 35 years. He’s also an award-winning poet and novelist.