Asheville Autonomous Zone Short-Lived, But Protesters May Try Again

Asheville Autonomous Zone

YouTube/SP Asheville Autonomous Zone

With the Capitol Hill Autonomous Zone in Seattle getting so much attention, other attempts are cropping up across the United States. But these attempts, so far, have been short-lived. The newest one was Friday night in Asheville, North Carolina.


An Attempt To Create an Autonomous Zone in Seattle Was Short-Lived

On Friday night, a group of people attempted to create an autonomous zone in Asheville, North Carolina.

One person on Reddit shared a post about it with a photo, writing that the attempt was being made on Lexington Street.

People are attempting to set up an autonomous zone here on Livingston street. I’m here with the medical team and we are set up just outside the borders. from asheville

Someone else commented just an hour later that traffic was already moving along again. From the comments, it appeared that the attempt only lasted a couple of hours at the most.

One person wrote: “There were still some people milling around last I checked, but they were all off the roads.”

Another person wrote just a couple of hours after the story was posted: “It’s pretty much just cops there as of 10 mins ago, they tore down barriers, no arrests.” 

On Twitter, Birdie Gregson tweeted about the attempt, first writing: “Autonomous zone going up in Asheville NC. People are needed now! Please share this if you can’t be here. Supplies also needed. Lexington is the road, right under 240. Look for the flashing police lights.” 

Then later updated a couple of hours later: “Update on #Asheville autonomous zone. Every cop in Asheville showed up, proving they have nothing better to do on a Friday night. Tore down barricade. As of 11pm est, <100 demonstrators remaining. Need more people & support. Many will be back tmrw. This is only the beginning.”

The video below from SP shows police taking down the barricade.

VideoVideo related to asheville autonomous zone short-lived, but protesters may try again2020-06-13T03:01:08-04:00

So it’s possible Asheville’s attempt isn’t over, but it’s not clear.


Protesters in Other Cities Have Also Talked About Creating Their Own Autonomous Zones

This isn’t the first autonomous zone attempt since CHAZ (Capitol Hill Autonomous Zone) in Seattle, Washington. Portland, Oregon attempted one too the day after CHAZ was created. It didn’t get a lot of attention, but there were some tweets while it was happening.

RT reported that the construction was haphazard, using barbed wire fence from the city. They had a few clashes with the police and then the protesters left.

However, Portland is still home to plenty of protests.

An attempt was also made in Nashville on Friday night. A Free Capitol Hill rally started at 5 p.m. at the Legislative Plaza.

Free Capitol Hill

You can see a video of the event below. At the end of the video, they were setting up a tent.

Gov. Bill Lee has said that he won’t allow an autonomous zone to be created in Nashville like it was in Seattle, Fox 17 reported. In a full statement, Lee said:

We encourage Tennesseans to exercise their First Amendment rights and have seen many examples of peaceful protests across our state in recent weeks. As demonstrations continue, we will continue to protect Tennesseans’ right to peaceful assembly, while also reassuring citizens that lawlessness, autonomous zones, and violence will not be tolerated. Further, Tennessee law expressly prohibits camping on state property not expressly designated as a campground area, and that law will be enforced.

At one point that night, they renamed the plaza Ida B. Wells Plaza:

One of the earliest shares about the event on Twitter and Facebook appears to be by The Tennessee Holler. They said on Facebook that they weren’t hosting the event, but it was sent to them by activists they know well.

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