As the Seattle Police Department cleared out the ‘Capitol Hill Autonomous Zone’, some protesters refused to go without a fight. Video footage shows them scrambling to barricade the streets.
Seattle police officers descended on the so-called ‘Capitol Hill Autonomous Zone’ (CHAZ, or CHOP) on Wednesday morning, clearing out the ‘Black Lives Matter’ protesters who had occupied the six-block area for nearly a month. Columns of cops in riot gear, backed by officers on bicycles and in armored vehicles, arrested those who refused to leave, and set about removing tents and debris from the garbage-strewn streets.
Some refused to go silently. As police directed a crowd of stragglers to move, they formed a human wall in front of the police ranks, before toppling graffiti-tagged port-a-potties and forming makeshift barricades.
Just saw a cone thrown at police. Protestors trying to barricade w toppled porta potties. @KING5Seattlepic.twitter.com/6eLOoBpLrO
“This is a peaceful protest!” one demonstrator shouted, though it was unclear if she was trying to calm her comrades or the police.
As police and city workers swept through the area, they discovered homemade spike strips, designed to puncture vehicle tires.
City workers have also recovered improvised spike strips—designed to puncture vehicle tires—in the area of the CHOP. pic.twitter.com/x4Des6hPGq
Several reporters on the scene described the hangers-on throwing traffic cones at the riot cops, but across the short-lived anarchist encampment, officers retook the streets with little effort, thanks to overwhelming numbers and equipment.
Demonstrators continue to react as Seattle police work to clear out the CHOP zone pushing protesters south on 12th. Some are refusing to leave and we are seeing traffic cones and other objects flung in the air. Other protesters have gathered right outside the CHOP zone. pic.twitter.com/C4EElCMHNO
BREAKING: Seattle Police dismantle violent CHAZ district pic.twitter.com/B0Ope33RXQ
By 7:45am, police had arrested 29 people for “failure to disperse, obstruction, resisting arrest, and assault.” One of the arrestees was found with a large knife and improvised bat when he was taken into custody.
As of 7:45 AM, officers have made 23 arrests in the #CHOP zone for failure to disperse, obstruction, resisting arrest, and assault. One of the arrestees, a 29-year-old man, was in possession of a large metal pipe and kitchen knife when he was taken into custody. pic.twitter.com/12qT7psBQQ
Once described by Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan as a “summer of love,” the CHAZ (or CHOP) has degenerated in recent weeks into a hotspot of violence. Durkan gave the order to clear the zone on Wednesday morning, after two black teenagers were shot on Monday, one fatally. Police say two people have died since activists first took control of the zone in early June, and multiple overdoses, assaults, and instances of vandalism have been reported.
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