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Capitol Hill Autonomous Zone updates: Friday actions for ‘a new generation’ and a general strike, and yes, CHAZ does, indeed, attract the worst kind of people (Tim Eyman)

(Image: Andrew Jacob Media / @meadedawg with permission to CHS)

With reporting by Lena Friedman

After weeks of holding back on protests due to concerns about the impact of COVID-19 in its communities, the Black Lives Matter Seattle-King County chapter has called for a general strike Friday and will mark the day with a silent march across the Central District. Friday will also bring an event of a different flavor as leaders including Nikkita Oliver lead a march to Madison Park Beach for the Engage: Part One rally. Meanwhile, another youth march full of loud enthusiasm crossed Capitol Hill Wednesday as organizers continued to grow and improve the protest zone around 12th and Pine.

Friday, June 12th, the BLM chapter is asking people across the state to step away from work and “spend their time and energy on direct action for lasting structural change” —

If you can’t march, take this time as an opportunity to familiarize yourself with your local elected officials. This includes your mayor, city council, county executive, county council, county prosecutor, and state representatives. It helps if you collaborate with friends and neighbors, and reach out to people you know who are more familiar with the local issues. It’s up to you to make sure your local officials feel the pressure to improve police accountability and dismantle the structural racism that has been built into all of our institutions.

The planned silent march, meanwhile, will begin gathering at Judkins Park around 1 PM with plans to step off for Jefferson Park at 2 PM. The group is asking participants to maintain silence during the procession and not to initiate chanting or booing. “We encourage you to bring signs and other visual ways of making your voices heard during the protest,” they write.

Organizers are also hoping people will march in groups with friends or members of their households and try to maintain six-foot distance with others to help slow the spread of COVID-19. Please wear a mask. You can learn more at blacklivesseattle.org.

Things were louder Wednesday as hundreds of young protesters marched from Volunteer Park across Capitol Hill to rally outside the Seattle Police Department’s West Precinct.


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Masses of young people filled up Volunteer Park’s amphitheater lawn, listening to speeches, spoken word and music before heading to the West Precinct and then marching back to the park for a debrief.

After hours of peaceful protesting, the crowd had a scare when a driver struck protesters outside the West Precinct and was reportedly stopped by the Seattle Protest Bike Brigade, a group of bikers protecting and supporting protests. There were no reported serious injuries.

“We stood together, someone tried to tear us down and we stayed together,” organizer Isaiah Jeannot said to the crowd.

Youth-led Seattle Change Coalition aimed to create a space for young voices at the forefront of the fight against police brutality and systemic racism. According to their social media, the protest demands include defunding and dismantling SPD, investing in “community based” services, and dropping any criminal charges against protestors. These demands echo those of protests across Seattle and in Capitol Hill, and the organizers catered their speeches to the young audience.

“The youth is powerful —- they can’t handle us, they can’t. They don’t know what to do,” organizer Jeannot told the crowd. “The police at the East Precinct left because they don’t know what to do, and that’s why we’re going to march out to the West Precinct, and we’re going to let them know what we’re doing and how we’re not going to stop.”

At the beginning of the rally, as protestors gathered in the park, there was a sign-making station and a voter registration table, and Mutual Aid Books was handing out free books penned by Black and Indigenous authors,

“We’re just trying to get everyone out there so that they can vote and make change — it starts with movements like this, but with time and voting it will change on a larger scale,” Luna Piper, who set up the booth along with her family, said.

Once marchers arrived at the barricaded West Precinct where no police presence was visible, the crowd listened to speakers and spent eight minutes and 46 seconds in silence in honor of George Floyd.

“I think especially in terms of the relationship between the SPD and public schools, it’s important that youth are organized and involved,” Ingraham High School graduate Isabella Martinez, who was helping out with snack and water supply, said.

Friday’s actions include the Engage march and rally. “The new generation of youth and young adult organizers are calling us to action, organizer Oliver writes.

Saturday will bring a Peace Peloton bike ride to Black-owned businesses to promote economic reform. The ride starts at 10 AM Saturday at Tougo Coffee on Yesler.

With officials agreeing to review SPD’s crowd control tactics and the City Council ready to slice down SPD’s budget, another policy victory emerged for activists Wednesday as the city’s officer will now be ordered “to have body-worn video recording during demonstrations.” The previous policy shaped by privacy concerns prohibited the recording unless a crime was being committed.

Meanwhile, as Mayor Durkan and Chief Best have started a serious game of hot potato over the decision to empty the East Precinct, there were also new developments at CHAZ, the Capitol Hill Autonomous Zone for protesters and campers that has formed around the building, continues to create new and interesting elements to add to the surreal and sometimes wonderful environment the camp has created in Pike/Pine and Cal Anderson Park. Most striking is the massive streetwide block letters now spelling out BLACK LIVES MATTER on E Pine south of the park. A smaller and more gentle addition are the garden plots added to the “social distancing” circles in Cal Anderson and in planters dragged into the gutters along 12th Ave. There are now bathroom maps showing which businesses have opened their restrooms and where the city provided chemical toilets are. Wednesday night brought some recreation to the turf Bobby Morris field as competitors took part in a foot race.

The CHAZ is no utopia and the concern from some organizers Thursday morning about a lack of volunteers to help keep the protest’s presence strong outside the East Precinct was telling. The CHAZ can also attract some of the worst kinds of people — gubernatorial candidate Tim Eyman was reported touring the site Thursday in full troll mode.

With COVID-19 restrictions lifting, more bars, restaurants, and stores will be interested in opening and it’s not clear how the camp will fit in with the entertainment district’s commercial aims. On Friday with the general strike planned, those kinds of conflicts will be put aside. Businesses in the area have been vocal supporters of the aims of the protests and many have opened the doors to support the crowds. But there are signs things are shifting to a new phase. Sorting out Saturday and what comes next will be the community’s challenge.

Thursday, Chief Best said she toured the East Precinct to assess damage and that planning has begun for SPD to return to the building. Response times, the chief said, are up about three times normal with East Precinct officers being dispatched out of other parts of the city. Mayor Durkan, meanwhile, repeated her belief that the movement’s central demand of a 50% cut to SPD is impossible. Without it, the activists, groups,  and hangers on have said they will not leave.

UPDATE 6/12/20 9:35 AM: While Chief Best’s visit to the East Precinct Thursday morning appears to have gone smoothly, an incursion later in the day by Seattle Police resulted in a tussle between a group reported to have been around 30 officers and protest zone demonstrators that resulted in police fleeing after using pepper spray to clear the area. It’s not clear if police were trying to make their way to the precinct or were exiting after already having gone in. There were no reported arrests.


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3rdDistrictResident
3rdDistrictResident
5 months ago

We are still in the middle of a pandemic. I’m sure I sound alarmist, but a second wave of infections is coming and will only be exacerbated by large gatherings. I’m a person of color. I believe things need to change. But this is a public health nightmare, and minority populations are at higher risk of infection than their white counterparts and usually face greater barriers to accessing healthcare. The people at high risk are putting themselves in even greater danger and you can’t fight for anything if you’re sick, or worse, dead.

Occupy CHAZ
Occupy CHAZ
5 months ago

Shut up Nazi!

CD Neighbor
CD Neighbor
5 months ago
Reply to  Occupy CHAZ

Awesome….you call a POC with a legitimate worry a Nazi, while claiming to be representing the concerns of that very person….

3rdDistrictResident
3rdDistrictResident
5 months ago
Reply to  Occupy CHAZ

Is that the best you’ve got? I know we don’t exactly see eye to eye, but I’m hardly a Nazi.

Bob Knudson
Bob Knudson
5 months ago
Reply to  Occupy CHAZ

For the far-left radicals, anyone who disagrees with them is a “nazi.” Must be nice to hold such a simplistic view of the world.

CD Res for 20 years
CD Res for 20 years
5 months ago

No we just hate concern trolling. Bigger things at stake than a virus right now. Racism and cops are the virus.

p-patch
p-patch
5 months ago

20 million people died because of WWI. 50 million died because of the 1918 pandemic. We need to tackle racism AND Covid. Action on one cannot derail action on the other.

jfce
jfce
5 months ago

This comment section is probably not the best place to have a reasoned discussion about this. But I think the reality is that, yes, the pandemic is deadly serious, and yes, these protests may spread the virus more than staying home. But many agree that the protests are just too important to ignore or postpone. They are essential activities. It is not an easy choice for most people. These are not just the feelings of the vocal radicals. There are many public health experts who look at the relative risk of spreading disease and that of inaction, and are coming to similar conclusions.

3rdDistrictResident
3rdDistrictResident
5 months ago
Reply to  jfce

http://www.seattle.gov/mayor/covid-19/covid-19-testing
I’m happy to be proved wrong in this case. UW’s latest findings on the spread of Covid from local protests.

Jfce
Jfce
5 months ago
Reply to  jfce

Thanks for that link. That is some good news.

Matthew Caldwell
Matthew Caldwell
5 months ago

Craziest thing in the world. Seattle….

Noeee
Noeee
5 months ago

Four months from election and they are digging vegetable gardens.

3rdDistrictResident
3rdDistrictResident
5 months ago

Also, I’m bloody tired of Kshama taking advantage of these opportunities to grand stand. This is the same woman who told people to NOT vote for Hillary. She clearly did not grasp the consequences of a Trump presidency. And I’m not sure she truly grasps the implications of her other proposals.

Glenn
Glenn
5 months ago

You don’t understand. She wants chaos. Chaos is a means to radical change, which is her all consuming goal. Trump is chaos. Covid 19, more chaos, Hate and extra judicial killings? Chaos. She fully understood the ramifications of a Trump presidency and is taking full advantage of it.

BK
BK
5 months ago

I agree Sawant is total opportunist but her telling people to not vote for HRC had zero effect on Trump being elected. HRC, the DNC and DCCC got Trump elected. They were the ones who insisted we vote for the ONE candidate who was most likely to lose to him. Move forward to this Covid mess. Rep Jayapal put forward legislation that would have kept people employed and getting paid- Paycheck Protection Act- instead of putting tens of people out of work struggling to find ways to support themselves. Pelosi refused to bring the Bill to the floor. Germany did this and their unemployment rate is 4%. Instead every Dem voted for the cares act which may go down as the largest upward transfer of wealth in US history. The 450 billion to the largest and wealthiest cooperations can be renewed up to 10x at the discretion of Mnuchin. So those who needed help the least will get almost 5 trillion while those most vulnerable may have gotten $1200. Look at how the DNC punked Sanders again to ensure a struggling Biden was the nominee. Unfortunately, Biden is likely going to loose. Read about it!!

Mimi
Mimi
5 months ago
Reply to  BK

BK – smartest post on here.

Slim Jones
Slim Jones
5 months ago

I am also a member of District 3.

Sawant is a self-aggrandizing show pony who only cares about herself and her pet causes. She doesn’t care about or represent the constituents of her district. Legitimate requests are ignored and never acted upon. I had to forward my requests to local state senator, Jamie Pedersen who did respond and acted.

My biggest regret is that I didn’t work hard enough to get her opponent, Egan Orion, elected in the last election.

CD Res for 20 years.
CD Res for 20 years.
5 months ago

I love the Sawant hate. I’ll keep voting for her just because of people like you at this point.

You guys are nitpicking our one truly leftist and socialist breadcrumb because you’re all out here woke-policing each other instead of trying to unify. Shut up already.

I am a black voice and I am constantly drowned out. But I love Sawant and appreciate her and I see the forest for the trees.

Gregory
Gregory
5 months ago

Ah, yes . . . The CHAZ is all for free speech as long as it agrees with the rhetoric of the CHAZ . . . no room for dissent here.

CD Res for 20 years
CD Res for 20 years
5 months ago

Literally no one is saying that. But concern trolling =/= dissent. But you do you, my epic bacon redditor.

Samual
Samual
5 months ago

Welp, this made the front page of Fox News and apparently hell has frozen over since their “crazy” headline makes sense to me. I mean the irony is for anything black related the last thing you want is chaos, vandalism, violence, people walking around with guns, all that feeds in to the the narrative the black community has struggled with.

It’s breathtakingly more ironic that the chief of police is a black women on top of it, so what on earth?

And you can’t say “people’s” anything when you live in a democracy, you voted those people into office, the are you, you are them, you don’t live in a monarchy where you can make a distinction.

Hopefully things do improve for the black community, if any funds are taken from the police department I’d hope they go to education. I’d love to see debates that public education has too much funding one day. That’s probably the single biggest improvement this country could make for any community.

HeyHeyHoHoThePoPoHasGotToGo
HeyHeyHoHoThePoPoHasGotToGo
5 months ago

Why are CHAZ-ites still making demands for Seattle to change anything? The CHAZ is an autonomous region situated in the United States with little or no actual connection to the U.S. If the CHAZ had a problem with how a city in a neighboring country conducts business they need to have an ambassador submit the grievance to the United States Department of State through normal diplomatic channels. The United States doesn’t tell (insert random city) how to conduct business in Canada and the CHAZ shouldn’t tell cities in the United States how to conduct business. In fact, the CHAZ has no room to talk…

– The CHAZ has no functioning hospitals.
– The CHAZ has no functioning grade schools.
– The CHAZ has no mental health services.
– The CHAZ has no immunizations program or requirements.
– The CHAZ has no functioning customs agency to prevent people with infectious diseases from entering.
– The CHAZ has no guarantee of habeas corpus protections if someone is arrested or detained.
– The CHAZ doesn’t have any employment protections for women or minorities.

Maybe if their warlord leader sprinkles a little RAZ-A-MA-CHAZ dust he can make his area of control a real tourist mecca.

:/

CD Res
CD Res
5 months ago

Oh my god dude. This is some Epic Reddit Bacon!!! MMMmmhmm. You are smart!!

Don
Don
5 months ago
Reply to  CD Res

It’s really sad how hateful you are. I’m sure you are too poor to travel anywhere to gain any sort perspective of the insane bubble you live in, but just know, there are people just like you living in Texas, or Louisiana, or Oklahoma, that are just the yin to your yang. The funny thing is you think you are smarter than everyone else.

Marcus S.
Marcus S.
5 months ago

JSeattle – sorry I just saw your post in reply to mine here (https://www.capitolhillseattle.com/2020/06/welcome-to-free-capitol-hill-capitol-hill-autonomous-zone-forms-around-emptied-east-precinct/).

The situation is now resolved. As I hope you understand, given the intensity of online comments, I would prefer to remain anonymous. When this is over, in a few weeks, I’d be happy to provide further details, however.

If you would like to confirm, via reply to this comment, that I am the same individual who left the original post I can provide future identification with aforementioned details using the below Sha512 hash.

Thank you.

abc169381999e0dc3d527f25620ee82a2714f5514c6a371b3501ef25c17ea608315bdbdc84ac4553c487d9f8e9c994f4bb77487580d3525479cfd23e6ea37662

Tita
Tita
5 months ago

Visited Seattle once in 2007. Thought it was beautiful. Now…not so much. Looks like a disgusting mess. Too much rain & not enough sun must do something terrible to peoples minds. Otherwise you wouldnt be allowing thugs & gangsters to destroy your city like this. So sad. By the way I’m Mexican and I see you built a wall…what happened to open borders? you even have armed ICE patrolling your wall. Interesting.

CD Res for 20 years
CD Res for 20 years
5 months ago
Reply to  Tita

You are very dumb. Stay out of Seattle forever. Thanks.

Barista Brigade
Barista Brigade
5 months ago

It’s all fun and games until they’re sh*tting in the streets…

Robert
Robert
5 months ago

It must be hell living near the ‘CHAZ’. Perhaps you should start a counter-revolution.

Eli
Eli
5 months ago

How exactly is that different from Capitol Hill of a week or two ago?

Robert
Robert
5 months ago

Is this how your utopia works, you demonize people? Figures.

Mr. Robot
Mr. Robot
5 months ago

This reminds me of The Paris – 1871 and The Kronstadt Rebellion – 1921.

Hopefully this won’t end like they did.However they both received critique and and opposition while they existed.Judging by Trump’s tweet he desperately wants to play the role of Trotsky, Lenin who are responsible for the crushing of the rebellion of the citizens,soldiers and workers of Kronstadt.

Solidarity from Bulgaria, Europe!♥

Blaze
Blaze
5 months ago

Ironic how the first thing the people calling for no wall to do is put up walls….