Story at a glance

  • After George Floyd’s death, demonstrators in Seattle joined those in other cities calling for defunding police departments.
  • A group of protesters has established what they call the “Capitol Hill Autonomous Zone” in a section of the city.
  • Police have pulled back their presence but remain in the area.

As protesters around the country demand that cities defund their police departments, one group of demonstrators in Seattle is out to prove they don’t need the law enforcement officers. 

On Tuesday night, protesters from what is now known as the “Capitol Hill Autonomous Zone” (CHAZ) were joined by other demonstrators as they briefly occupied Seattle's City Hall. Speakers called for the resignation of Mayor Jenny Durkan and the defunding of the Seattle Police Department before leaving the building about 1 a.m., chanting "defund SPD" as they returned to the zone. 


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Located in the Capitol Hill district, the "Capitol Hill Autonomous Zone" surrounds the Seattle Police Department's East Precinct. Police opened the area to demonstrators on June 8 after closing the streets in response to protesters demonstrating against police violence after the death of George Floyd. The East Precinct remains staffed, but Assistant Chief Tom Mahaffey said in a statement they were taking measures for the safety of officers and the building. 


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“I want to express my sincere appreciation and admiration for your continued efforts to protect this City and one another during this extremely challenging time,” Mahaffey said in the statement. 

Local reporters and others have tweeted pictures and video from the area, showing people providing food and medical aid to protesters, some of whom are sleeping in tents. On Tuesday night, many watched Ava DuVernay's documentary "13th" on a giant projector screen.


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Published on Jun 10, 2020