A Surprisingly Quick and Easy End to CHAZ/CHOP

The Story:

On July 1, the Mayor of Seattle, Jenny Durkin, ordered that city’s police department to clear the East Precinct and Carl Anderson Park area of the city’s downtown. This amounted to the dismantling by force (or by a show of force) of an “autonomous zone” declared by protesters who had occupied this space on June 8, during the height of protests over the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

Background:  

The area was sometimes called the “Capitol Hill Autonomous Zone” and at other times the “Capital Hill Organized Protest” (CHAZ and CHOP). It had given rise to apocalyptic rhetoric in its early days. President Donald Trump said on June 10 that the Governor of Washington and the Mayor of Seattle were obliged to “take back your city NOW” and warned that if they didn’t, federal forces would.

The Thing to Know: 

In the end, the clearance of the CHAZ/CHOP did not require federal troops. It required patience. The Mayor waited three weeks until the initial fervor of the protesters/occupants flagged a bit. It also took a show of force from the police. One protester, Derrek Jones, told a reporter that he woke up in his tent Wednesday morning (July 1) to the sounds of “frantic panicking” from his neighbors as the police advanced.

 

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