Justice for Tortuguita, Aly Dominguez, and Jairo Bonilla
Last week, forest defender Manuel “Tortuguita” Paez Teran was murdered by Atlanta police as Tortuguita was protecting the Atlanta forest. Atlanta forest defenders have been resisting the development of “Cop City,” a proposed $90 million police training facility on over 300 acres of public forest. Police have continued to escalate violence against the forest defenders, recently charging several with felony domestic terrorism and now murdering one of them. Tortuguita is remembered by their community as “kind and fierce.”
Violence against defenders is a reality that replicates worldwide. Two weeks ago, Aly Domínguez and Jairo Bonilla, Guapinol water protectors in Honduras, were murdered by unknown gunmen after protesting an open-pit iron oxide mining project in Carlos Escaleras National Park that would pollute the river on which their community relies. The community believes this was an act of retaliation, as they’ve experienced a long history of criminalization for their work to protect their water.
Our solidarity is with environmental defenders worldwide who risk their lives to protect water, forests, and lands.
Violence against people who protect the environment, challenge corporate greed, and take action for human rights is at an all-time high. As the climate crisis escalates, so does violence against frontline defenders.
Protecting defenders from state-sanctioned and corporate-funded violence must be a priority. We’re committed to building a world where frontline defenders can do their work without the threat of violence and where the rights of people and the environment are prioritized and protected.
Here are some actions you can take to act in solidarity with the Atlanta forest defenders:
- Donate to the Atlanta Solidarity Fund to support legal costs for protestors.
- Donate to Tortuguita’s family.
- Follow the effort to defend the Atlanta forest on Instagram: @defendatlantaforest, @stopcopcity, @atlpresscollective, defendtheatlantaforest.org
- Call Atlanta Mayor Andre Dickens at (404) 330-6100 and tell him to #StopCopCity
Learn more about violence against environmental defenders worldwide:
- Read Earthrights’ global protection strategy for earth rights defenders.
- Read Global Witness’ defenders report.
- Learn more about the Guapinol water protectors, and their fight.