Kemp extends order deploying 1,000 National Guard troops to Atlanta

Gov. Brian Kemp extended an order Monday that deployed 1,000 Georgia National Guard troops to protect state buildings in Atlanta, the latest in a series of escalating tensions with Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms over safety and public health.

Kemp called out the troops earlier this month despite opposition from Bottoms, who has urged the governor to focus state resources on responding to soaring numbers of coronavirus cases in Georgia. The extension keeps them in place through July 27.

The governor, a Republican, signed the first order July 6 after a burst of violence across the city that included the shooting death of an 8-year-old girl and the ransacking of the headquarters of the Georgia State Patrol in southeast Atlanta.

The troops were dispatched to three state government sites in the city: the state Capitol, the Governor’s Mansion in Buckhead and the Department of Public Safety building, which had been vandalized by a group of at least 60 people.

At the time, the governor said he had little other choice but to call in reinforcements, and his order cast the step as “necessary and appropriate to protect public peace and provide for the safety and welfare of Georgia’s citizens, visitors and property.”

He said on Monday that the troops will “protect state property to allow state police to patrol our streets, especially in the city of Atlanta.”

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