Seattle police were working to clean up the anarchist campsite, dubbed a “security force-free zone” — a sort of American 15 — for its “illegal and brutal” drift after weeks of violence, including four shootings and the deaths of two teenagers. This was reported Wednesday by the city’s police chief.
Seattle’s libertarian utopia ended in tears. Riot police have finally intervened to shut down CHAZ (Capitol Hill Autonomous Zone) and arrested 31 people. The police allowed eight minutes for the occupants to be evicted, many with tents and various stands, reminiscent of the protests and encampments of the Occupy Wall Street movement.
The “Capitol Hill Autonomous Zone” had been created by various collectives, activists and neighbors after being abandoned by the police, who vacated their eastern district police station in the middle of the protests following the death of George Floyd, in Minneapolis, at the hands of a police officer. This area without police cars, several blocks away from a hipster-hippie neighborhood, a bastion of LGBT culture, a jungle of restaurants, bookstores, concert clubs and luxury alternative shops, a mecca for alternative rock and roll in the early 1990s, had become, in the eyes of many defenders of the Black Lives Matter movement, something of an empirical demonstration that a kind of socio-cultural revolution was possible in the American urban fabric.
But in the last few weeks the area experienced up to five shootings and two deaths. Reasons enough for the mayor, Democrat Jenny Durkan, to decree its closure and, in the process, face the wrath of voters who seem radically divided. With CHAZ falls one of the main workhorses of anti-police activism.