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Seattle mayor: City will work to end autonomous zone after gun violence

Seattle Mayor Jenny DurkanJenny DurkanInvestigation recommends firing detective who appeared to mock protesters hit by car Hillicon Valley: House panel says Intelligence Community not equipped to address Chinese threats | House approves bill to send cyber resources to state, local governments Seattle approves new minimum pay standard for Uber, Lyft drivers MORE (D) announced Monday that officials will work to end the autonomous protest zone in the city after gun violence left one man dead over the weekend. 

The Capitol Hill Occupied Protest zone has been in existence for approximately two weeks and has drawn rage and threats of intervention from President TrumpDonald John TrumpNearly 300 former national security officials sign Biden endorsement letter DC correspondent on the death of Michael Reinoehl: 'The folks I know in law enforcement are extremely angry about it' Late night hosts targeted Trump over Biden 97 percent of the time in September: study MORE

The announcement comes after there were two shootings in the would-be police-free zone, including one on Sunday when a 17-year-old was shot in the arm and another on Saturday when a 19-year-old was killed.

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Durkan said the nighttime violence in the area is “undermining and distracting from the message of change” for which peaceful protesters are advocating after George Floyd’s death in Minneapolis police custody last month.

“While we believe that individuals, organizations and others can continue to gather on Capitol Hill peacefully, the continued disorder, the violence and the impacts on residents and businesses are not just at odds with the message of justice and equity, they cannot continue to occur,” she said.

The mayor said the organizers in the autonomous zone have agreed they should stop gathering overnight after the incidents of violence. She said city officials are in regular communication with organizers and other community leaders. 

“I am hopeful and confident that these organizations that we are in dialogue with and others will work to encourage individuals to leave voluntarily, and we’re working with those organizations and community leaders to resolve that situation,” Durkan said.

Demonstrators two weeks ago took over a several-block area near a police station after confrontations with officers, who used tear gas, pepper spray and flash-bangs. Police eventually left the East Precinct building, leading activists to declare the area an autonomous zone. 

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The protests have mainly remained peaceful during the day, but violence has broken out at night, with demonstrators marching and openly armed guards keeping watch, The Associated Press reported

Trump has sharply condemned Durkan and Washington Gov. Jay InsleeJay Robert InsleeOVERNIGHT ENERGY: Biden would face hurdles undoing Trump environmental rollbacks | Biden team weighs climate 'czar': report | Donald Trump Jr. urges hunters to vote for his father Biden would face hurdles undoing Trump environmental rollbacks Barr asked prosecutors to explore charging Seattle mayor over protest zone: report MORE (D) for allowing the autonomous zone to operate, threatening to get involved if they didn’t retake control of the city. 

The zone was formed as part of the protests in response to Floyd’s death in Minneapolis after video showed a former officer kneeling on Floyd’s neck for about nine minutes before his death.