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Atlanta-Israel Police Exchange Program Under Fire at Georgia State University March – Fight Back! News

Atlanta, GA – Over 150 Georgia State University students and members of the broader Atlanta community gathered at Hurt Park downtown on Friday, May 3, to protest the ongoing genocide against the Palestinian people in Gaza.

The focus was on calls for an end to the Georgia International Law Enforcement Exchange (GILEE) program, which promotes mutual training between Georgian police and Israeli occupation forces, with a particular focus on urban warfare and crowd control.

The GILEE program at Georgia State University (GSU), a nonprofit funded by the university foundation, has drawn widespread criticism from activists over its officer exchanges between the U.S. and Israel. Under the auspices of “international cooperation,” police officers from Georgia and elsewhere in the United States are training with the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) in brutal crowd control techniques and the use of force against protesters. This criticism has intensified as condemnation of US support for Israel's ongoing genocidal war in Gaza grows.

A number of groups actively participated in the protest, including GSU Students for Justice in Palestine, Black Alliance for Peace Atlanta, Dissenters, the All-African People's Revolutionary Party and the Atlanta Alliance Against Racist and Political Repression.

Erica Kadel of the Atlanta Alliance Against Racist and Political Repression opened the protest with a fiery address to the crowd. Kadel was one of 28 people arrested by police at Emory University on April 25 while protesting the genocide in Gaza. Kadel galvanized the crowd with a chant of “From Palestine to Emory, stop the US war machine,” linking the fight against local police militarization to global peace efforts.

“Many critics say that what we are doing here could not possibly have any impact on Palestine,” Kadel said. “We know how interconnected our struggles here in Atlanta and in Palestine are – a prime example is the GILEE program. If people still don't get it, all you have to do is look at the videos, photos and statements coming from individuals and organizations in Gaza and the West Bank thanking the US student camps. In fact, Bisan Owda, a journalist in Gaza, said, “The voice of the US student camps is louder than the bombs in Gaza,” and that should give us courage that what we are doing here matters.”

Protesters then marched through the largely urban university campus before reaching the GSU complex, where the GILEE offices are located. There, Atlanta police blocked the crowd from approaching the building and attacked them. Officers tore signs and umbrellas from people's hands and violently threw objects into the crowd. Citing the Atlanta Police Department, the crowd chanted during these attacks: “APD, KKK, IDF, they're all the same!”

As the demonstration dispersed, student activists called for further protests at GSU in the coming days.

#Atlanta, GA #GSU #GILEE #AAARPR #AtlantaAlliance

Anna Harden

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