The Capitol Hill Organized Protest Zone, otherwise known as CHOP, has finally been shut down. After weeks of a staged protest in the area, which saw the fatal shooting of two people, rape, and assault, Mayor Jenny Durkan called for an executive order to shutdown CHOP, calling it an “unlawful assembly.”
Protestors had occupied the blocks around the Seattle Police Department’s East Precinct. While police protests erupted throughout the nation following the death of George Floyd, Mayor Durkan had been slow to act against this autonomous zone, which led lawmakers in DC to the call for the end of federal funding to the Seattle. The protestors occupying CHOP said they were taking a stand against police brutality. But the time spent in the area rapidly declined into chaos. The police said about the situation, “Since demonstrations at the East Precinct area began on June 8th, two teenagers have been killed and three people have been seriously wounded in late-night shootings.”
Seattle police, dressed is riot gear, started moving protestors out Wednesday morning. They arrested at least 23 people. In the past three weeks, crime had risen in the area by 500 percent, but it took the police just thirty minutes to take back the streets and restore order.
In what resembled a movie, Protestor Rick Hearns is reported to have used a megaphone to urge the protestors to leave the area, but reassured them, “We’ve made history. Everybody out. We’ll get another place. Don’t taunt the officers.” About 100 officers showed up to help the process, and made it clear that any person who remained in the CHOP zone, or returned, would be arrested.
CHOP had become a symbol of protests merging into anarchy. Mayor Durkan came under harsh criticism from President Trump among others for letting violence, looting, and killings happen in the city. Durkan was under pressure from her Seattle’s city council members, who called for her resignation due to her allowance of “police brutality.” Although it seems Mayor Durkan was trying to be tolerant of what was in words a peaceful protest, the escalation of activities in CHOP caused her to finally put her foot down, and she has no plans to resign.
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