The Seattle “Autonomous Zone” is a six-block area of the State of Washington city that includes the now abandoned east police precinct. It’s called “Capitol Hill Autonomous Zone” or the CHAZ for short.
Protesters took over the area after the police left the precinct and declared it “autonomous.” Blockades identify the CHAZ’s borders. A sign reads, “You are now leaving the USA.” Videos provide a sense of what it’s like inside the CHAZ. You can see videos of the autonomous zone throughout this article.
Julio Rossas, a reporter with Town Hall, wrote on Twitter, “Occupiers forced this guy out who was live-streaming inside the zone. The crowd was calling him a white supremacist, though the man being pushed out says he’s simply an anti-abortion advocate. The crowd chanted, ‘Who don’t matter? This motherf*cker!'” See that video. Be aware the language in it is graphic.
Occupiers forced this guy out who was live-streaming inside the zone. The crowd was calling him a white supremacist, though the man being pushed out says he’s simply an anti-abortion advocate. The crowd chanted, “Who don’t matter? This motherfucker!” pic.twitter.com/qCBl1K7G90
— Julio Rosas (@Julio_Rosas11) June 11, 2020
He also wrote, “Tensions are high in the CHAZ after some officers came in to enter the East Precinct. Some in the crowd wanted to make sure nothing happened to the officers. Others wanted to prevent the officers from entering the zone. Arguments are breaking out amongst the crowd.”
Tensions are high in the CHAZ after some officers came in to enter the East Precinct. Some in the crowd wanted to make sure nothing happened to the officers. Others wanted to prevent the officers from entering the zone. Arguments are breaking out amongst the crowd. pic.twitter.com/uKYLrUEycl
— Julio Rosas (@Julio_Rosas11) June 11, 2020
A CNN reporter said that people are camping out, playing music, and watching movies.
Incredible CNN segment. Reporter says how peaceful it is in CHAZ. One of the protesters crashes the shot and tries to organize people to interrupt the report. Reporter then says “no doubt some of these protesters are armed” (contradicting CNN's report): https://t.co/FBiJaGifZR pic.twitter.com/AnQBI0QOm8
— Steve Krakauer (@SteveKrak) June 12, 2020
“Whose streets? Our streets,” people chanted in one video.
It’s my first day in CHAZ. Arrived just as the group was trying to get rid of a couple police and shouting to check all the barricades pic.twitter.com/Gew1kaOjza
— Heidi Groover (@heidigroover) June 11, 2020
Some of the videos show armed people in the CHAZ.
Chaz citizen with his semi automatic gun actively securing his border. #chazseattle
— Rohit Roy (@realrohitroy) June 12, 2020
Some of the videos contain very graphic language.
Peaceful natives of CHAZ. pic.twitter.com/voUxMQqMEK
— Ian Miles Cheong (@stillgray) June 12, 2020
Here’s what you need to know:
The Mayor Compared the CHAZ to a Block Party
Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan says the six-block autonomous zone in her city known as CHAZ, where armed Antifa types have driven off police and set up checkpoints, is "more like a block party atmosphere" than an "armed takeover." pic.twitter.com/5S5RcXyID1
— Scott Morefield (@SKMorefield) June 12, 2020
Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan told CNN that “we have four blocks in Seattle that is more like a block party atmosphere. It’s not an armed takeover. It’s not a military junta. We will make sure that we will restore this but we have block parties and the like in this part of Seattle all the time… there is no threat right now to the public.”
She criticized President Donald Trump, who wrote on Twitter, “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. This is not a game. These ugly Anarchists must be stopped IMMEDIATELY. MOVE FAST!”
This is #CHAZ. No armed guards or intimidating behavior. Just free food, peaceful protest, and dancing. There was a guy sitting on the ground watching a movie with his buttcrack showing, but I'm not sure that's worth storming in with police for. #capitolhillautonomouszone pic.twitter.com/oOpJnc4v5C
— SeattleProtestVideos (@VideosSeattle) June 11, 2020
Some tweets with videos said police officers were kicked out of the CHAZ.
— Liz Pleasant (@lizpleasant) June 11, 2020
One Twitter user wrote, “Due to COVID-19 we respectfully decline the @SeattlePDs request for their precinct back. The People will move forward with their plans to convert the space into a Mutual Aid HQ for COVID.”
Due to COVID-19 we respectfully decline the @SeattlePD s request for their precinct back. The People will move forward with their plans to convert the space into a Mutual Aid HQ for COVID. #SeattleAutonomousZone #chaz #Protestseattle #COVID__19 pic.twitter.com/CJp23RKVrM
— Pacific Northwest CHAZit Daddy (@pnwtransitdaddy) June 11, 2020
The police chief, Carmen Best, recorded a video with an update about the East Precinct. “We are all going through one of the toughest times ever in the history of the Seattle Police Department,” she said.
— Rich Smith (@richsssmith) June 11, 2020
The decision to board up the precinct, our precinct, our home, the first precinct I worked in, was something I have been holding off. You should know, leaving the precinct was not my decision. We fought for days to protect it. I asked you to stand on that line day in and day out, to be pelted with projectiles, to be screamed at, threatened, and in some cases, hurt,” she said.
Debate continues to rage within the CHAZ, or whatever, about what to do with the cops. Earlier today a squadron of bike cops rolled through the barricades to reenter the precinct. The barricades are being reinforced, but without any dedicated plan of action that may not matter. pic.twitter.com/hG4rEsY14Q
— Robert Evans (The Only Robert Evans) (@IwriteOK) June 12, 2020
“Then to have a chancg of course nearly two weeks in. It seems like an insult to you and our community. Ultimately, the city had other plans for the building and relented to severe public pressure. I’m angry how this all came about…We had solid information to believe anti government groups would destroy the precinct once we left, whether through vandalism or arson.”
The chief continued:
As you might have heard, the Seattle Fire Department was nearby to protect the precinct and the entire residential block from a real risk of a large-scale fire. This week there have been demonstrations and what I understand were threats against a news reporter on Capitol Hill. There was vandalism to our city streets and our building. But today the precinct remains standing. No officers were hurt. No force was used. We have heard that there are armed people patrolling the streets… of course that is very concerning especially because we don’t know who these people are. We’ve also received reports that these armed people may be demanding payment from business owners in exchange for some of that protection. We’ve also heard that they be demanding to see identification from people who live in the area. This is not legal. We ask anyone who may be experiencing this to come forward and file a police report so we can investigate these crimes.
— Shauna Sowersby (@Shauna_Sowersby) June 11, 2020
She said she believes most people in Seattle support the police.
And back to the CHAZ now, where they’re about to start watching a documentary and have a huge sign that says “This space is now property of the Seattle people.” #seattleprotest pic.twitter.com/eArnU1NEy4
— Jake Goldstein-Street (@GoldsteinStreet) June 10, 2020
Members of the Lakota and Yakima Tribes perform at 11th & Pine. To the east: dozens watching a movie. West: BLACK LIVES MATTER being painted on the street. #CHAZ is constant activity. pic.twitter.com/q1zCy8mOyB
— Casey Martin (@caseyworks) June 11, 2020
— HeyWilliamHey (@heywilliamhey) June 11, 2020