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Friday, July 3, 2020

July 03, 2020
image: ap

Associated Press

  • Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan issued an executive order Wednesday morning declaring that gathering in the zone is considered unlawful assembly that requires city and police action, The Seattle Times reported.
  • Over 100 heavily equipped police officers swept through the protest zone to clear it, overturning toilets as they went.
  • The order comes on the heels of four recent shootings, including one that killed a teenager.

More than 100 heavily armed police officers swept through the Seattle CHOP "autonomous zone" early Wednesday morning carrying out a city order to clear the area, the Seattle Times first reported.

Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan's executive order declared gathering in the autonomous zone unlawful and warned that city agencies, including police, would be shutting it down.

Officers overturned public portable toilets in the area and ordered people to leave, according to The Seattle Times. Those who didn't were arrested, the department tweeted.

"Officers enforcing today's order are wearing a higher-level of protective gear," the department tweeted. "Police are utilizing this equipment because individuals associated w/the CHOP are known to be armed and dangerous/may be associated with shootings, homicides, robberies, assaults & other violent crimes."

The CHOP — which stands for "Capitol Hill Occupation Protest," and was initially known as the CHAZ, or "Capitol Hill Autonomous Zone" — emerged several weeks ago as a part of anti-police brutality and anti-racism protests in the city. The autonomous zone began with a positive, festival vibe that has evolved into violence, a man who lives nearby previously told Insider.

Police had largely avoided the area, but announced it would be clearing the zone as crime became more serious.

On Tuesday, city employees removed some barriers with heavy equipment, but protesters quickly erected their own to replace them, according to The Seattle Times.

There's been a spate of shootings in the area. On Monday, two teenagers were shot. One of them, a 16-year-old boy, died from his injuries.

At least four others have been shot there in the last two weeks, including a 19-year-old who was also killed.

One of the people arrested Wednesday was a 29-year-old man who was in possession of a large kitchen knife and metal pipe, police said.