President Donald Trump called on Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan and Washington state Gov. Jay Inslee to “take back” Seattle after protest groups that include Antifa, a far-left network that espouses violence, took over a seven-block zone from which police have withdrawn.
Widely referred to by its acronym CHAZ, the so-called Capitol Hill Autonomous Zone was established when staff at the Seattle Police Department’s East Precinct, which was the site of violent clashes with protesters, secured the facility, removed barricades, and essentially left the protesters to police themselves.
The people and groups controlling CHAZ have published a 30-point list of demands. These include abolishing the Seattle Police Department and reparations for victims of police brutality.
The Seattle Police Department said there have been reports of people with guns checking the identification of individuals seeking to enter the zone.
“While Washington is an open-carry state, there is no legal right for those arms to be used to intimidate community members,” Assistant Chief Deanna Nollette told reporters on Wednesday. She added there have been reports of businesses and citizens being asked to pay a fee to operate in the area, which she said could amount to the crime of extortion.
Trump said Inslee and Durkan “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 stooped [sic] IMMEDIATELY. MOVE FAST!” he added in a statement on social media.
Inslee told Trump in response that “a man who is totally incapable of governing should stay out of Washington state’s business.”
“Make us all safe. Go back to your bunker,” Durkan responded to Trump’s tweet.
Trump said in a later tweet: “Domestic Terrorists have taken over Seattle, run by Radical Left Democrats, of course. LAW & ORDER!”
Barricades viewed by a reporter with NTD Television, an Epoch Times affiliate, included the phrase, “Public safety means no cops on our streets.”
The East Precinct building entrance sign was painted over to say “Seattle People Department.”
Heather Mac Donald, fellow at the Manhattan Institute and author of “The War on Cops,” told The Epoch Times on June 8 that people who resort to what she called “left-wing fun and riot revolutionary tactics” in seeking social change often fail to consider the lasting damage.
“It’s not going to be there,” she said of the stability and predictability that’s needed for society to function. She said what would emerge in place of law and order is “poverty, despair, uncertainty.”
“Can you get anything at your grocery store? Can you walk outside at night? Will there be restaurants? All of that is now in severe jeopardy,” she said.
“Cities cannot operate with this level of fear,” she added.
Seattle police on Wednesday said they wanted to identify and talk with protest leaders about reopening the precinct, Seattle Times reported.