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“Capitol Hill Autonomous Zone”, or “Chaz”, formed in the city of Seattle by BLM protesters

PHOTO CREDITS: NEW YORK POST

According to local news outlets in Seattle, hundreds of ‘Black Lives Matter’ protesters have taken over almost seven blocks and part of a park in Seatle’s East precinct, transforming it into the “Capitol Hill Autonomous Zone”, or “Chaz” for short. The CHAZ, which was described by The Guardian as having “both a protest and street fair vibe,” was barricaded off by protesters Monday, and has since been decorated with tent communities, a small garden, a medic station, a smoking area, and a “No Cop Co-op”, where members of CHAZ can receive food and resources for free. Aside from a trio of shrine-like areas of the CHAZ filled with flowers, candles, and images of African Americans who have died at the hands of law enforcement, the area has been lined with events in the form of town halls, concerts, and movie nights that have sought to highlight the problem of racial injustice in the US. A sign sporting the phrase “You are now leaving the USA” can be found at an entrance to CHAZ. ~

After a weekend of tense interactions between police and protesters/rioters in Seattle over the weekend, the Seattle Police Department (SPD) “gathered important files, weapons, ammunition and equipment” and relocated them out of the East Precinct “over fears it was an arson target” (Newsweek). The SPD also removed police barricades from the area, in which demonstrators swiftly moved into the area with their own barricades, closing the area to vehicles and police (Seattle Times). As of Friday, officers of the department have yet to resume any form of operations in the East Precinct, and according to Seattle mayor Jenny Durkan, there is no “specific date” for the police’s return to the area. ~

Local police have reported anecdotal stories of protesters being asked to show identification to CHAZ’s “non-police” armed-enforcement group in order to enter CHAZ, and that businesses inside the seven-block area were being asked to pay protesters in order to be protected from graffiti, destruction of property, or looting. President Trump, responding to the newly-formed region, said it’s “just wonderful” that “terrorists burn and pillage our cities” and called for an immediate end to the Seattle takeover. ~

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