Protesters flee violence at Seattle ‘autonomous zone’: Report

Seattle’s “Capitol Hill Occupied Protest” (CHOP) zone is now largely abandoned, the Washington Examiner reports, after protesters packed up their tents to flee continued violence there.

Citing a Twitter account said to be associated with the movement, the Examiner reported that the mass move-out took place on Tuesday night, when organizers for CHOP evacuated the area — which is also called the “Capitol Hill Autonomous Zone” or “CHAZ” — in response to threats of violence.

“Last night, Solidarity Committee received notice from some of our trusted partners that persons in the park were in danger. We immediately implemented our emergency relocation plan, successfully evacuating most of the park. Thankfully, no danger materialized. However, we are now left with the reality that very few people remain in our beloved CHOP,” the account wrote, according to the Examiner. “The CHOP project is now concluded.”

Abandoning ship

The Twitter account has now been suspended, and some CHOP organizers said they didn’t know who was behind the account, the Examiner reported.

Nevertheless, local news reports indicated the CHOP zone was mostly deserted on Wednesday, just as police prepared to re-enter the zone and take back the police station that was abandoned when the zone was first created on June 10 amid widespread unrest over the police killing of 46-year-old George Floyd in Minneapolis.

The decision to dismantle CHOP was reportedly made earlier in the week after three shootings took place there, including one that was fatal. Conditions were clearly deteriorating within the zone, which had no police presence and was said to be self-policed with armed security, according to MyNorthwest.com.

A few dozen protesters still remain in the area, and some say they will not relinquish the police station until a list of demands is met, including a 50% cut in the police budget, funding so-called restorative justice, and no prosecution for protesters who have been arrested, according to Seattle’s KOMO News.

Public safety be damned

Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan (D), for her part, has been extremely weak-kneed in dealing with the CHOP people, but letting the situation play out has turned out to be an object lesson to anarchists: society needs police to be safe.

Indeed, CHOP couldn’t even keep its people safe for two weeks without shootings breaking out and violence scattering the faithful. This failed experiment makes clear that while changes can and should be made when it comes to law enforcement, we can’t just throw out the baby with the bathwater.

Now, according to the Daily Caller, some actual residents and businesses located within the CHOP zone are suing the city for not protecting their constitutional rights and allowing the takeover.

“Rather than seeking to restore order and protect the residents and property owners within CHOP, the City instead chose to actively endorse, enable, and participate in the occupation of CHOP,” one suit reads, according to the Daily Caller. “The City’s conduct has also resulted in the elimination of basic public safety within CHOP and nearby areas.”

One can only hope, for the plaintiffs’ sake, that law and order is soon restored in Washington state.

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