Thursday, Seattle Mayor Jenny Dukran tweeted:
It’s clear @realDonaldTrump doesn’t understand what’s happening on five square blocks of our City. Cal Anderson and Capitol Hill has for decades been a place for free speech, community, and self expression.
It's clear @realDonaldTrump doesn’t understand what’s happening on five square blocks of our City. Cal Anderson and Capitol Hill has for decades been a place for free speech, community, and self expression.
— Mayor Jenny Durkan (@MayorJenny) June 11, 2020
Per NYPost, Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan on Thursday defended the protesters who have declared an “autonomous zone” on the city’s streets as “patriotic.”
In her remarks to the press, Durkan also said President Trump’s threat to send in federal forces to crack down on the protesters was “unconstitutional and illegal.”
“Unfortunately, our President wants to tell a story about domestic terrorists who have a radical agenda and are promoting a conspiracy that fits his law-and-order initiatives,” Durkan said, according to Patch.
Fox News reports the leadership in Seattle appeared to be in disarray on Friday after the city’s embattled mayor called the protesters who took over an “autonomous zone” in the city “patriotic” while the official who ordered police to flee the nearby precinct has refused to come forward.
Despite the slow-moving disaster and protesters calling on Mayor Jenny Durkan and Chief Carmen Best to resign, the mayor resisted the call and raised eyebrows when she joked about considering a “Thelma & Louise” moment in an interview, referring to the 1991 movie about two women on the run from the law.
At Thursday’s news conference, Best told reporters it wasn’t her decision to leave the precinct, while Durkan also denied responsibility, according to The Stranger, a Seattle-based newspaper.
Tensions are still high as speakers are arguing on what to do next in the “Capitol Hill Autonomous Zone.” pic.twitter.com/0IeM98L8eO
— Julio Rosas (@Julio_Rosas11) June 12, 2020
“We were asked to do an operational plan in case we needed to leave,” Best said. “The decision was made. We’re still evaluating about how that change came about but it didn’t come from me.”
Despite the fact that police cannot gain full access to the police station, Durkan tried to downplay the situation on the ground. She claimed that Trump was wrong to call the protesters “domestic terrorists.”
“It’s simply not true. Lawfully gathering and expressing first amendment rights, demanding we do better as a society, and providing true equity for communities of color is not terrorism. It’s patriotism,” she said.
Durkan has tweeted that the protest is “a peaceful expression of our community’s collective grief and their desire to build a better world.”
KIRO 7 reported, citing police, that demonstrators moved barricades near the police station and threw rocks and “improvised explosives” at officers on several occasions. Best reportedly said that 25 cops were injured since the protests began.
“You fought for days to protect (The East Precinct). I asked you to stand on that line. Day in and day out, to be pelted with projectiles, to be screamed at, threatened and in some cases hurt. Then to have a change of course nearly two weeks in, it seems like an insult to you and our community,” Best said in a video, according to the station.
— Liz Jones (@KUOWLiz) June 11, 2020
On Thursday, the crowd continued to occupy the six-block downtown area, named the “Capitol Hill Autonomous Zone” (CHAZ) because of its location in the city’s Capitol Hill neighborhood.
A few police officers re-entered the so-called “cop-free zone” on the way to the boarded-up, abandoned East Precinct building.
“Tensions are high in the CHAZ after some officers came in to enter the East Precinct,” Town Hall journalist Julio Rosas tweeted Thursday, along with a two-minute video of the encounter. “Some in the crowd wanted to make sure nothing happened to the officers. Others wanted to prevent the officers from entering the zone.”
Tensions are high in the CHAZ after some officers came in to enter the East Precinct. Some in the crowd wanted to make sure nothing happened to the officers. Others wanted to prevent the officers from entering the zone. Arguments are breaking out amongst the crowd. pic.twitter.com/uKYLrUEycl
— Julio Rosas (@Julio_Rosas11) June 11, 2020