The Capitol Hill neighborhood of Seattle has been taken over by protestors who at first declared it the "Capitol Hill Autonomous Zone (CHAZ)" and is now calling the stand-off "Occupying Protest" announcing it as a police-free area. The Seattle Police Department abandoned their East Precinct after securing the building and boarding it up.
On Tuesday night the group was led by City Councilmember Kshama Sawant who unlocked City Hall and led the protestors inside. The protestors have barricaded the area and set up their own form of policing with a group of them guarding the perimeter of the Zone. Some of their demands include the call to abolish the police department and amnesty for all looters, rioters, and protestors. They also want the police station to become a community center.
Local Radio Station KOMO reported that protesters said they plan on staying as long as it takes to bring about changes. “It’s nothing aggressive or violent or nothing like that," said Rooks, a protester. "We didn’t come out here for any of that. All we wanted was what is equal and what is right." Many said they want to defund SPD as part of the Black Lives Matter movement. “Lives taken by police matter," Rooks said. "All lives matter. Black lives matter. That’s why there are those faces on wall--black lives killed by police."
In a surprising response by Gov. Jay Inslee (D-Wash.) when asked at a press conference about the situation, he laughed about this open rebellion, saying "I hadn’t heard about it". Inslee went on to inform the press that the National Guard is demobilizing, and his chief of staff suggested that even "if an open rebellion had broken out on the streets of Seattle, it would be up to “local authorities” to fight it".
Yesterday, it was reported that armed citizens have started "patrolling" the area. Washington is an open-carry state with certain limits. Seattle Police Department Assistant Chief Deanna Nollette made this statement during a briefing outside of police department headquarters.“There is no legal right for those arms to be used to intimidate community members,”. She added, “We have heard anecdotally reports of citizens and businesses being asked to pay a fee to operate within this area,” Nollette said. “This is the crime of extortion."
The Mayor of Seattle has weighed in on the situation by tweeting that she is "making an effort to proactively de-escalate interactions between protestors and law enforcement" and she also noted that about approximately 500 residential homes are in the occupied area. There were several calls for her resignation in the replies to the tweet.
The President fired off a tweet in response to the Seattle situation including a direct tweet to Governor Inslee. The tweets stated in part, "Domestic Terrorists have taken over Seattle, run by Radical Left Democrats, of course. LAW & ORDER!". And to Gov. Inslee "Take back your city NOW. If you don't, I will. This is not a game".