The Mayor of Seattle has said that the city plans to ‘take back’ a district that has been self-declared by armed protesters as an ‘autonomous zone’ after three people were shot at the weekend.
Mayor Jenny Durkan has said that the shocking violence in the ‘police free’ zone has become “increasingly difficult” for businesses and residents who are in the area.
Durkan added that city officials would ‘work with the demonstrators’ to end the so-called ‘Capitol Hill Autonomous Zone’ (CHAZ).
The city centre zone was overrun by protestors on 8th June, after police were forced to withdraw from the area following violent clashes with demonstrators.
Police precincts were left abandoned after law enforcement personnel were ordered to retreat for their own safety.
Mayor Durkan told a local news conference on Monday that the city’s police department would return to its precinct “peacefully and in the near future”.
“The cumulative impacts of the gatherings and protests and the night-time atmosphere and violence has led to increasingly difficult circumstances for our businesses and residents”.
One of the individuals who was shot in the CHAZ area bled to death after police officers were refused entry into the city by heavily armed masked protesters.
EMS had to wait for the police to arrive before entering the area owing to the threat of violence from the protesters who have taken over that part of the city.
A video has emerged on social media of a male who was apparently one of the individuals who was shot by a fellow ‘CHAZ’ resident over the weekend, asking for “help from the media” after he claims that he was “left to die” by the emergency services after being shot in ‘CHAZ’.
But the police had been prevented from being allowed into the area by scores of armed protesters.
On Sunday night, a 17-year-old CHAZ resident refused to speak to the police after being shot in the arm, according to reports from the BBC.
At Monday’s news conference, Police Chief Carmen Best said her officers had been confronted by a “hostile crowd” after the Saturday shooting that hampered emergency workers as they tried to reach the victims.
She also said that since police officers had been forced out of the East Precinct, ‘rapes, assaults, burglaries and vandalism had been reported in the area’.
Soon after the zone was taken over by armed protesters, Mayor Durkan was asked by CNN when the authorities might take back control of the zone.
She replied: “I don’t know, we could have the summer of love!”
The ‘CHAZ’ area spans a six-block radius of the city.
Although not much trouble is reported during the day, at night, the area is said to descend into violence.
Law enforcement vloggers have been highlighting how quickly the area seems to have deteriorated since the police were forced out of the city.
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