The activists who established a commune around a now-abandoned police precinct in the Capitol Hill neighborhood of the city of Seattle are finding out that it’s not as easy as they thought. Since starting the Capitol Hill Autonomous Zone, otherwise known as “CHAZ” – the people have dealt with food shortages and internal issues, such as security.
The Capitol Hill Autonomous Zone, which consists of six blocks, lies outside of the Seattle Police Department’s now abandoned East Precinct.
The police department’s sign was spray-painted over and now reads, “Seattle People Department East Precinct.”
On Monday, the Seattle Police Department decided to vacate their East Precinct, hauling out any sensitive material and boarding up the windows of the building before deciding to surrender the neighborhood over to protesters, rioters and activists.
However, on Tuesday evening activists lead by Seattle City Council member, Kshama Sawant soon swarmed and entered City Hall to take control and later occupy it.
One activist – whose Twitter account is now private tweeted out, “the homeless people we invited took away all the food at the Capitol Hill Autonomous Zone. 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”
Another activist has tweeted that their NO COP Co-Op now needs security after food items have been stolen.
Another activist tweeted out, “Right now at CHAZ there is food, security, bathrooms, art, love, public discourse, action, education, film viewing, and much-needed community building.” The film being shown was Ava DuVernay’s documentary, “13th” which talks about the connection between slavery and prisons in the United States.
In response, Ava DuVernay tweeted out her support to the community of CHAZ, “Blessings and bravery to all the good people at #CHAZ tonight. Onward. xo”
However, one of the noticeably ironic things about “CHAZ” is how they have a wall around the premises of what they consider to be “their” zone. The barricades read, “You Are Entering Free Capitol Hill”
Seattle Police Chief Carmen Best explained that the decision to take down barriers and vacate the police precinct is an “exercise in trust and de-escalation.” As of right now, the police department is only responding to 911 calls.
Already, law enforcement officials are calling on the Seattle Police Department to regain control over their precinct from the activists of “CHAZ.”
Jim Fuda, a law enforcement expert and the Director of Law Enforcement Services for Crime Stoppers explained, “It can’t continue like that.”
Fuda continued on, “Where are the rest of the citizens and their need for service?” Many on Twitter noted that “the rest of Seattle is at risk. Any district can be taken over and the mayor/police/governor will do NOTHING.” Another stated “I would have put their National Guard in there long ago…and kept them there.”
President Trump also called for Seattle’s mayor and city council, as well as Washington’s Governor Inslee to secure Seattle.
Trump also criticized Governor Inslee for knowing “nothing about” Seattle’s new autonomous zone.