As protestors reached the Peace and Justice Plaza on Sunday afternoon, their voices rang out over Franklin Street.
Holding signs that read “Stop Cop City" and other messages, they chanted phrases like “Bogus charges, bogus bans” and “Brick by brick, wall by wall, say bye to the prisons and free them all.”
The group included UNC students and community members who had gathered at the Bell Tower earlier that afternoon to protest the construction of the Atlanta Public Safety Training Center, commonly known as “Cop City,” and the Mountain Valley Pipeline.
The center is a proposed police and fire services training facility in Atlanta that has garnered national attention. The facility is planned to occupy over 85 acres of the Weelaunee Forest and will cost approximately $90 million.
The Mountain Valley Pipeline is a natural gas pipeline system that will span from northwestern West Virginia to southern Virginia — amounting to approximately 303 miles.
Sunday's event, referred to as “Forest Fest,” aimed to connect the UNC community to the topics of the training center and the pipeline. UNC sophomore Jess Foday said the event also aimed to celebrate concepts of reciprocity and solidarity.
“People coming together to see that there are others that envision a more liberated and autonomous world, in the same way or in different ways than they do, is really powerful and is part of what we are trying to achieve,” Foday said.
Protestors raised concerns about the projects, including how the training center in Atlanta might lead to the militarization of police forces nationwide.
“The nature that is keeping us safe is being replaced by hyper-militarized police that are not [there] to keep us safe,” sophomore Ariel Halperin, who protested at the event, said.