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#A look inside Seattle’s ‘Capitol Hill Autonomous Zone’

#A look inside Seattle’s ‘Capitol Hill Autonomous Zone’

June 11, 2020 | 8:47am

Protesters in Seattle have been camped out this week in an enclave called the “CHAZ” — where there’s a smoking section, room for political discourse flows and free food, if you can find it.

Short for the “Capitol Hill Autonomous Zone,” the “CHAZ” is located outside Seattle Police Department’s now-deserted East Precinct at 12th Avenue and East Pine Street in the hip, bar-friendly neighborhood. The department’s sign was painted over to read “Seattle People Department.”

“From what I’ve gathered, we’re trying to take our community back so we can live without a massive police force patrolling the streets,” Michael Taylor told the Seattle Times.

The Seattle Police abandoned the precinct on Monday, hauling out sensitive items and boarding up the building’s windows before opening up the streets to protesters, Patch reported. The department has been sued for allegedly using violent tactics including tear gas and flash bang grenades against peaceful protesters.

By Tuesday, demonstrators took over the area, erecting a screen for a late-night screening of director Ava DuVernay’s movie “13th” for some 200 protesters, some of whom camped out overnight in tents.

A “No-Cop Co-Op” has been doling out free food, including to the homeless, and there’s a designated smoking section, as well as medical aid on every corner.

But at least one protester warned of a food shortage.

“The homeles [sic] people we invited took away all the food at the Capitol Hill Autonomous Zone,” the person tweeted. “We need more food to keep the area operational. please if possible bring vegan meat substitutes, fruits, oats, soy products, etc. – anything to help us eat.”

The group also apparently organized its own garbage collection Wednesday, according to an observer on Twitter, and hosts regular free speech circles, reminiscent of the Occupy movement nearly a decade ago.

Inhabitants of the “CHAZ” are calling for defunding the Seattle Police Department as well as other demands published in a 30-point list online.

“This is no simple request to end police brutality,” organizers wrote. “We demand that the City Council and the Mayor, whoever that may be, implement these policy changes for the cultural and historic advancement of the City of Seattle, and to ease the struggles of its people.”

They continue, “This document is to represent the black voices who spoke in victory at the top of 12th & Pine after 9 days of peaceful protest while under constant nightly attack from the Seattle Police Department.”

Protests In Seattle Continue As City Council Considers Defunding Police

A painted-over sign on the exterior of the Seattle Police Department’s East Precinct in the “Capitol Hill Autonomous Zone.”

David Ryder/Getty Images

Anti-Racism Protests Continue In Seattle

A volunteer works security at an entrance to the so-called “Capitol Hill Autonomous Zone” on Wednesday.

David Ryder/Getty Images

Anti-Racism Protests Continue In Seattle

People paint a Black Lives Matter mural on East Pine Street in Seattle’s so-called “Capitol Hill Autonomous Zone” on Wednesday.

David Ryder/Getty Images

Protests In Seattle Continue As City Council Considers Defunding Police

A sign designates a smoking section in the “Capitol Hill Autonomous Zone.”

David Ryder/Getty Images

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Demonstrators are in it for the long haul, with one, Sarah Tornai, calling for organization to keep everyone safe.

“We don’t know when the police will arrive to reclaim this space,” Tornai said, according to the Seattle Times.

On Wednesday, President Trump demanded Seattle officials “take back” the “CHAZ” — referring to the protesters as “ugly anarchists.”

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