Faced with growing pressure to crack down on an “occupied” protest zone following two weekend shootings, Seattle’s mayor said Monday that officials will move to wind down the blocks-long span of city streets taken over two weeks ago.
Mayor Jenny Durkan said the violence was distracting from changes sought by thousands of peaceful protesters opposing racial inequity and police brutality. She said at a news conference that the city is working with the community to bring the “Capitol Hill Occupied Protest” zone, or CHOP, to an end and that police soon would move back into a precinct building they had largely abandoned in the area.
Durkan also vowed to address some of the protesters’ demands, including investing more in Black communities, reimagining policing in cooperation with community leaders, and pushing for accountability measures and statewide reform of police unions.
The mayor did not give an immediate timeline for clearing out the occupation but said “additional steps” would be examined if people don’t leave voluntarily. With scores of people camping in a park in the protest zone, Durkan said peaceful demonstrations could continue, but nighttime disorder had to stop.
With files from the Associated Press