ATLANTA — Up to 1,000 National Guard troops will likely remain in various Georgia cities - particularly Atlanta, after an announcement by Gov. Brian Kemp on Monday.
Kemp shared on Twitter that he signed an executive order extending a July 6 order that allowed him to put troops across Georgia to protect state assets. The renewal, signed on Monday, will remain in effect for another 14 days unless it is extended or ended by the governor.
Another executive order dealing with COVID-19 that was filed in March has similarly been extended multiple times - though the intent didn't appear to be directed at any particular city.
Kemp wrote on Twitter, however, that the decision to renew the call for National Guard troops was born of an effort to "ensure public safety" and "prevent violence" - pointing particularly at Atlanta.
The move came following a violent weekend in Atlanta that left about 31 people hurt and others dead.
Gov. Kemp has been critical on Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms' handling of COVID and recent violence - particularly after the death of a child and the vandalism of Georgia's Department of Public Safety - a state-run agency.
Kemp suggested bringing in the Guard would allow them to protect state property and allow state police to patrol the streets of Atlanta.
However, Mayor Bottoms has also been critical of his decision to call in troops in the first place, suggesting that Kemp's efforts - and the National Guard - were better served by focusing on COVID-19. This came on July 8 when she and her family tested positive for the virus.
Kemp has also pushed back on her suggestion that the city moves back to Phase 1 in handling the pandemic's impact in Atlanta, suggesting she would be better helped by enforcing state orders, and claiming she has failed to do so.
Meanwhile, as Gov. Kemp sends in the National Guard, another group will also be coming from a governor's office to provide additional support in the COVID-19 battle - just not from Georgia.
Bottoms recently joined a press conference with New York Governor Andrew Cuomo where they discussed both the unrest and the pandemic response in Georgia. Cuomo then pledged to send testing and contact tracing help to Atlanta to aid the city in handling the spread.