Hundreds of protesters, with the help of a sympathetic City Council member, stormed City Hall on Tuesday and demanded the mayor’s resignation.
A number of people chanted “defund SPD,” referring to the Seattle Police Department. Protesters as well as self-described anarchists and communists have also camped outside the so-called Capitol Hill Autonomous Zone, which spans six blocks, including the Seattle Police Department’s East Precinct, which was closed on Monday.
Twitter accounts of individuals involved in the zone, called CHAZ, have uploaded photos of the area’s “border,” which consists of plastic barricades, trash cans, pieces of plywood, some fencing, and orange cones—featuring anti-police graffiti.
One of the signs, which appears to have been written on a piece of cardboard with a marker, reads “you are now leaving the USA.” It appears that the blockade doesn’t prevent pedestrian traffic.
Seattle police told Fox News they are still responding to the area if there is a 911 call or an emergency.
Mayor Jenny Durkan’s office also confirmed the Tuesday City Council protest, saying the city is committed to reforming policing in the city.
“As the person who originally investigated the Seattle Police Department for the unconstitutional use of force, Mayor Durkan believes that SPD can lead the nation on continued reforms and accountability, but knows this week has eroded trust at a time when trust is most crucial,” her statement said, according to KOMO News.
“Mayor Durkan has worked non-stop over the last three months to keep our community safe and to address the inequities of the pandemic in our community. Working together, we must focus our investments in opportunities for communities of color and increase efforts that go even beyond what we built the first two years, like free college, expanding preschool, protecting domestic workers and rideshare drivers, building affordable housing, and investing in community led youth safety programs,” the statement said.
On Friday, Durkan, a Democrat, banned the police use of tear gas on protesters, who are outraged by the death of George Floyd, a black man who died in police custody in Minneapolis.
News outlets reported that the City Council protesters were led by Seattle City councilwoman Kshama Sawant, a member of the Socialist Alternative party.
“If Mayor Durkan refuses to step aside, it will be the responsibility of the City Council to remove her, by introducing articles of impeachment,” Sawant said last week, reported the Seattle Times.
Earlier this month, President Donald Trump said he would declare the far-left Antifa extremist group a terrorist organization in the wake of arson incidents, riots, vandalism, and looting that occurred during or after protests over Floyd’s death in several cities.