Seattle mayor orders clearing out of police-free ‘autonomous zone’

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Seattle’s no-cop “autonomous zone” is finally being cleared out following a vacate order issued by the city’s mayor early Wednesday.

Mayor Jenny Durkan authorized police to remove protesters who are “unlawfully occupying Cal Anderson Park area” — dubbed the Capitol Hill Organized Protest zone.

“Persons who refuse or intentionally fail to obey this closure order to move and disperse from the area will be subject to arrest,” the order, posted online, says.

Durkan also ordered police to set up a “security buffer” around the area, which includes the East Precinct.

The dismantling of CHOP comes after two teens were shot and killed in the zone that spans multiple blocks in the city’s Capitol Hill neighborhood.

“As I have said, and I will say again, I support peaceful demonstrations. Black Lives Matter, and I too want to help propel this movement toward meaningful change in our community,” said Police Chief Carmen Best. “But enough is enough.  The CHOP has become lawless and brutal. Four shootings — two fatal — robberies, assaults, violence and countless property crimes have occurred in this several block area. ”

Police came in around 5 a.m. to announce they were clearing out the area — then gave protesters eight minutes to comply, KOMO News reported.

Seattle Police Chief Carmen Best holds a news conference inside the CHOP on Monday.
Seattle Police Chief Carmen Best holds a news conference inside the CHOP on Monday.Lindsey Wasson/Reuters

“A lot of chaos, you hear many, many voices,” Debora Killman, who was sleeping in a tent, told the station. “But then I heard on the megaphone it’s either going to be the police or National Guard so that’s when I started saying OK, it’s time to get up.”

At least 13 protesters who refused to leave have been arrested, police said.

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