A strange social experiment is unfolding in Seattle this week, as a slurry of protesters have set up a perimeter within the Washington capital’s Capital Hill district.
Originally known as the CHAZ, or “Capital Hill Autonomous Zone”, the six block area was meant to serve as a police-free area that many believed was seceding from the United States itself. Demonstrators within the area quickly kiboshed that storyline, however, insisting that they were more akin to an experiment in self-policing than a rebellion.
In either case, this is one of the more bizarre situations to come out of the George Floyd protests…and it continues to grow ever stranger by the day.
Seattle police officers have agreed to only enter the Capitol Hill Organized Protest, or the CHOP, to respond to “significant life-safety issues,” according to the mayor’s office.
“The Seattle Police Department’s definition of life-safety issues may include an active shooter incident, an assault, a structure fire, significant medical emergency (i.e. heart attack, stroke, trauma) and other incidents that threaten a person’s life safety,” the office of Mayor Jenny Durkan said on Tuesday.
City officials and organizers occupying the area previously called the Capitol Hill Autonomous Zone, or the CHAZ, reached an agreement to remove temporary roadblocks set in place by protesters and replace them with concrete barriers, reducing the size of the zone from about seven city blocks to just three.
“While there have been inaccurate and misleading depictions of the CHOP from the President and some national media, the City believes first amendment activities can continue while also maintaining public safety and allowing access for residents and businesses who operate in the area,” the mayor’s office said in a statement.
President Trump has been sparring with local leaders over the CHOP, at one point threatening to take action against the protesters should Durkan or Washington Governor Jay Inslee refuse to do so.
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