Seattle Says It Will Ask Protesters To Voluntarily Leave ‘Autonomous Zone.’ What Happens If They Don’t?
Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan is putting a halt to the city’s autonomous zone, an area recently claimed by protesters as a police-free sanctuary within the city. Since it was set up on June 8, the six-block area—alternately referred to as the Capitol Hill Autonomous Zone (CHAZ) or the Capitol Hill Organized Protest (CHOP)—went from a “block party atmosphere” to seeing 19-year-old Lorenzo Anderson fatally shot within its borders and two others injured in shootings there. “It’s time for people to go home,” Durkan said on Monday.
She added that Seattle cops would be returning to their precinct in the area but would not be clearing out protesters. “Rather, Durkan said, they’d ask people to leave the area voluntarily at night, offering resources for homeless people and working with community groups to try to cajole people to leave the area,” reports The Seattle Times.
Durkan declined to say what city authorities planned to do if people refused their polite requests.
Meanwhile, in Washington, D.C., protesters attempted to tear down a statue of Andrew Johnson that sits in Lafayette Square, a park in front of the White House. After being confronted by police, they declared an area in front of a church there the “Black House Autonomous Zone” (though this appears to be largely symbolic).
After trying to pull down a statue of Andrew Jackson, protesters outside the White House have set up the “Black House Autonomous Zone” pic.twitter.com/bQPAX144ik
— Billy Binion (@billybinion) June 23, 2020
“Welcome to BHAZ” pic.twitter.com/7D1rpMbx5P
— Ebony Bowden (@ebonybowden) June 22, 2020
Seattle repealed a law against “loitering” for the purpose of prostitution. The Seattle City Council voted unanimously on Monday to repeal the law, after Councilmembers Alex Pedersen (District 4), Tammy J. Morales (District 2), and Andrew J. Lewis (District 7) requested it be repealed, following a 2018 recommendation from a working group on reentry problems faced by people exiting incarceration. “The prostitution loitering ordinance has a discriminatory legacy that impacted primarily people of color, women and our LGBTQ community,” said Lewis in a statement. “I’ve received hundreds of emails from constituents almost uniformly in favor of repealing these ordinances.”
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