Police abandon their precinct after Seattle protesters take over the area

The Capitol Hill neighborhood of Seattle has been taken over by protesters. It's a six block area that spans 13th Avenue past 11th Avenue, near Cal Anderson Park, and from East Olive Street to East Pike Street, that has now been overrun by protesters who have camped out there. They have renamed the area: "Capitol Hill Autonomous Zone". The police in the area at the 13th precinct have now evacuated in an effort to quell the violence. The violence that ensued there included shootings, driving vehicles into crowds of protesters, as well as deployed tear gas and pepper spray. Since the closure, police have received numerous calls that the the CHAZ area has armed guards (protesters) and is engaging in extortion.

Assistant Chief of Police, Deanna Nollette said: “We’ve heard, anecdotally, reports of citizens and businesses being asked to pay a fee to operate within this area. This is the crime of extortion. If anyone has been subjected to this, we need them to call 911."

How long will the police and state allow this to go on? While many say the gathering there has been peaceful with people playing music and dancing, there has been reports that CHAZ has been guarded by armed individuals and residents who actually live within the area that is now called CHAZ, have been asked to show an ID and prove that they live there.

Should CHAZ be dismantled there is Seattle? The President certainly thinks so...

The Governor of Washington, Governor Inslee, actually had no idea the area was taken over by protesters and that the police had abandoned their precinct...

A section of Seattle was taken over and the Governor DOES NOT KNOW immediately about it? You'd think that would be an emergency type of briefing as soon as the police left...unbelievable. What is happening there in the state? These blockages of that neighborhood in Seattle is a public safety and health concern seeing as how fire trucks and police cannot get into that area to assist as it's 1) blocked off and 2) manned by armed guards.

A local TV outlet in Washington, KIRO7, caught up with some local residents who live in the Capitol Hill area of Seattle and this is what one resident, McKenzie Diamond, had to say about the situation: "It's a bit stressful. It’s like checking in with somebody to get into your own home. Just making it so people can get into their buildings. Keep the zone however they want, and move the fencing so people can go home."

What is the strategy here? How long do you keep this going? Should the police go in and dismantle or could we have another Waco situation on our hands? Does Seattle shut down the electricity, water, and utilities in the area and try to flush them out? This is a tough one because you need to handle it very delicately. I feel that you have to end this at some point in the most non-violent peaceful way possible. You can't have a group of people occupy public streets and prevent citizens from accessing local businesses, establishments, and force residents into complying with your rules. That's just not acceptable. Protest, hold rallies, and march but armed guards is a bit aggressive. If you are "peaceful" then why do you have armed guards? It's like you're ready to pick a fight if someone challenges you. That's not a good look to me. No one is saying you cannot protest, voice your opinion, or express yourself peacefully. You can march everyday down the street for the rest of your life if you want, fine but this is holding the neighborhood hostage in the name of "justice" and in my opinion, that's very anarchistic and it's not a positive way for you to try and get the government to work with you. This is setting yourself up for mayhem not change. Just my opinion though. What's yours?

We discuss on "VB in the Middle":

-Producer Lightning

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