After a failed bid to remove barricades from Seattle’s protester encampment – in which municipal workers were blocked by demonstrators – the city’s mayor said they will try again Sunday, soon after being hit with another lawsuit.
Friday morning saw protesters at the “Capitol Hill Occupied Protest” (CHOP) stand-off with city workers who’d arrived to clear away street barriers set up around the zone, with one activist seen laying in the road to stop equipment from entering the area. Following the tense interaction and a lengthy meeting with protesters, however, Mayor Jenny Durkan now says the barricades will come down over the weekend.
At the meeting, city officials and activists discussed “the restoration of the Capitol Hill area and long-term changes to transform policing,” Durkan said in a statement, adding that she sought to balance the protester’s First Amendment rights with public safety.
City workers moving in to take out the barriers at CHAZ/CHOP. One guy laying on the ground trying to prevent this. Chopistan leaders told protesters to go home and vote for one of the most racist politicians in America, Joe Biden. Seems legit 🤦♂️ pic.twitter.com/DlyUuytvdV
CHOP Protesters Stop Seattle Workers From Removing Barriers: City workers attempted to clear out barriers at the edge of CHOP, but were sent home empty-handed after protesters blocked their machinery. https://t.co/Z43gmqVtFcpic.twitter.com/OsWwamvjuC
Some of the barricades, however, will remain near the Seattle Police Department’s East Precinct, according to a local report, suggesting the protesters plan to continue demonstrating in the area. It is not clear whether the city has approved that plan.
The moves to disband the anarcho-commune-slash-protest-zone come soon after a second lawsuit was filed against both the mayor and the city itself over CHOP.
Filed on Thursday, the suit – which also names Governor Jay Inslee – alleges that the city “did allow, aid, abet, and actively facilitate, the exclusive physical occupation, takeover and control of an approximate six city block area of publicly owned real property of an American city… by an un-elected, unauthorized, and violent group of citizens promoting a political special interest group.”
The suit follows a similar complaint, filed earlier this week by more than a dozen local business owners. Though they voiced support for the rights and efforts of the Black Lives Matter movement, a lawyer representing the plaintiffs said they were concerned about “public order” and “safety,” adding “They want access to their streets and to their properties.”
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