State Watch

Protesters negotiate with local officials over leaving Seattle ‘autonomous zone’

The Seattle Police Department has negotiated with Black Lives Matter (BLM) protesters who have occupied a six-block radius for most of the week after driving police from the local precinct.

Demonstrators in the city, who had clashed with Seattle police repeatedly during protests over the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis police custody, forced officers out of the East Precinct station at the beginning of the week, dubbing the area the Capitol Hill Autonomous Zone (CHAZ).

During the week, organizers said that thousands of people were occupying the CHAZ, The Wall Street Journal reported.

BLM protesters had stated earlier that they would not leave the area until the city had met its list of demands regarding police reform and increased funding for Seattle’s black communities.

“It’s a temporary occupation until we get our demands met,” BLM spokeswoman Jessica Kilpatrick told the Journal.

Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan (D) has agreed to invest at least $100 million the city’s minority communities and is also establishing a community-driven Black Commission.

A Durkan spokeswoman told the paper that Seattle police were responding to calls in the area on Friday and that some officers had returned to the precinct, though the Journal reported that no police presence was visible in the CHAZ on Friday.

The weeklong occupation drew ire from President Trump and conservative commentators. Trump tweeted Thursday, “Radical Left Governor @JayInslee and the Mayor of Seattle are being taunted and played at a level that our great Country has never seen before. Take back your city NOW. If you don’t do it, I will.”

Durkan has pushed back on Trump, telling him in a tweet earlier in the week to “go back to your bunker.”

Gov. Jay Inslee (D) also bristled at the president’s tweet.

“What we will not allow are threats of military violence against Washingtonians coming from the White House,” Inslee said in a tweet. “The U.S. military serves to protect Americans, not the fragility of an insecure president.”

Tags Black Lives Matter Movement Capitol Hill Autonomous Zone CHAZ Donald Trump Jay Inslee Jay Inslee Jenny Durkan Jenny Durkan Seattle Seattle Trump Washington state

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