US President Donald Trump has issued a stern warning to left-wing agitators who may be plotting to set up a so-called ‘autonomous zone’ in Washington, DC, saying he will use “serious force” to stop the demonstrations.

As the situation continues to deteriorate in Seattle’s police-free Capitol Hill Autonomous Zone (CHAZ), Trump has almost goaded activists into attempting to establish one in the US capital. 

The president tweeted on Tuesday: “There will never be an ‘Autonomous Zone’ in Washington, D.C., as long as I’m your President. If they try they will be met with serious force!”

CHAZ residents are reinforcing barricades along the six blocks of occupied streets after officials announced on Monday that they will begin to dismantle the zone following two shootings in the space of 48 hours.

The area (also referred to as the ‘Capitol Hill Occupied Protest’, or ‘CHOP’) has been occupied by protesters for about two weeks after Seattle police left the precinct during violent demonstrations that sprang up in the wake of the killing of George Floyd. 

Seattle Police Chief Carmen Best said on Monday that there have been “shootings, a rape, assaults, burglary, arson, and property destruction” in the zone.

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