Seattle protests: Police clear autonomous zone after mayor issues executive order

Mayor issues executive order to clear the streets of Seattle's police-free CHOP zone

Chris Riotta
New York
Wednesday 01 July 2020 15:59 BST
Anti-racism protesters gather in Seattle

The Seattle Police Department has begun vacating the Capitol Hill Organised Protest (CHOP) zone after Mayor Jenny Durkan issued an executive order to vacate the area following a deadly shooting in the police-free encampment.

Police officers made several arrests on Wednesday while clearing the north end of a park that has served as an unofficial point of congregation for protestors taking park in the CHOP demonstrations.

Under the mayor’s orders, gathering in the zone was considered “unlawful assembly” and would lead to immediate arrest. At least 13 people were arrested before 6:00am, according to a tweet posted by the Seattle Police Department.

Seattle Police Chief Carmen Best said during a press conference on Wednesday morning the operation “comes after weeks of violence” including “the death of two teenagers” this week.

“I support peaceful demonstrations, black lives matter, and i too want to help propel this movement forward … but enough is enough,” the police chief said. “Our job is to protect and to serve the community, our job is to support peaceful demonstrations, but what has happened here … is lawless, and it is brutal, and bottom line it is simply unacceptable.”

There have been at least 64 reported crimes, two deaths and four shooting within the area since police were cleared following major demonstrations sparked by the police-involved death of George Floyd, a 46-year-old unarmed black man who was killed in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

Ms Best said the police department would work with activists to “envision” a future of policing in Seattle, but that protestors would need to clear out of CHOP immediately under the mayor’s orders.

People in the CHOP zone were largely cooperating with police as they cleared the area, picking up tents staked out in the streets while declining to hold the line against law enforcement.

Videos and photos posted to social media from users in the area showed a massive police presence taking over city streets just after 5:00 am local time, removing barricades as they moved through the region.

A police department building that was vacated amid the protests was taken back by the Seattle Police Department, which cleared the facilities on Wednesday morning.

Join our commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies


Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in