Protesters at Seattle Autonomous Zone Say They Won’t Leave Until ‘Demands Are Met’

June 26, 2020 Updated: June 26, 2020

The people remaining inside Seattle’s so-called autonomous zone are insisting they won’t leave until their demands are met.

A few dozen people remain camped outside of the Seattle Police Department’s East Precinct, according to video footage from Thursday night.

Leaders of the group say the dwindling crowd is actually beneficial to their cause.

“We’ve really weeded out the people that are here to protest and the people that are here to party,” Mark Anthony, who said he’s a member of the zone’s council, told KOMO News.

“I’m not sure who’s going and spreading these lies about us leaving but as you can see, our tents are still pitched,” he added.

On the other hand, organizers are asking people who are camping at Cal Anderson Park to leave.

Naudia Miller, a representative of Black Collective Voices, a group involved in the occupation, said at a press conference on Thursday, “We will stay here as long as the people want to stay here.”

“It’s the will of the people,” she said when asked how long the occupiers would remain in place.

Epoch Times Photo
Jesse Miller, her daughter Naudia Miller, and Marcus Henderson, who are organizers within the Capitol Hill Organized Protest (CHOP), speak during a press conference in Seattle, Wash., on June 25, 2020. (David Ryder/Getty Images)

Members of the council were planning to convene Friday to assemble a list of demands to present to the city in the hopes of a “peaceful surrender,” according to Anthony.

Demands on a lengthy list the group released earlier in June included abolishing the Seattle Police Department, reparations for “victims of police brutality,” and a retrial of all minorities currently in prison for violent crimes.

The city faces an injunction unless it documents plans to dismantle the zone in a case brought by businesses and residents who live and work in the area and say they’ve struggled to access their homes and companies because of intimidation and violence from the occupiers.

Photographs and video footage from the area Friday morning shows Seattle Department of Transportation personnel on the scene working to remove barriers.

The department didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.

The Seattle Police Department abandoned the East Precinct on June 8. Protesters who had clashed with police soon entered the area and laid claim to it, moving barriers into roadways. Armed guards began checking the identities of some people entering and others who had entered were rejected for, among other actions, carrying American flags.

The area was mostly peaceful during the day but would devolve into violence at night, according to video footage captured by reporters and an Epoch Times reporter who spent days in the zone.

Epoch Times Photo
An entrance to the Seattle Police Department’s vacated East Precinct is seen in the area known as the Capitol Hill Organized Protest (CHOP) in Seattle, Wash., on June 23, 2020. (David Ryder/Getty Images)

Two shootings took place over the weekend, leaving one man dead and others wounded.

Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan, a Democrat who openly supported the continued occupation, said Monday the city would dismantle the zone. Some organizers told protesters to go home and continue the “struggle” online.

In a statement to The Epoch Times Thursday, Durkan’s office acknowledged the zone still hasn’t been fully cleared.

“City leadership have been on the ground daily having discussions with demonstrators, residents, and businesses and trusted community-based, black-led organizations to determine a path forward that protects the right to peacefully protest and keeps people safe,” a spokesperson said.

Over the coming days, city officials and community groups are planning to encourage people to peacefully depart from the autonomous zone “in the evening for their safety and the safety of the surrounding community, while also encouraging individuals to peacefully demonstrate across the city throughout the daytime hours,” the spokesperson added.

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