Per AP, crews arrived with heavy equipment Friday at Seattle’s “occupied” protest zone, apparently ready to dismantle barriers set up by protesters, but halted work when demonstrators resisted by lying on top of some of the makeshift structures.
Fox News reports city crews arrived in Seattle early Friday morning to remove barriers in the downtown “Capitol Hill Organized Protest” zone (CHOP) but were met with resistance from protesters, who laid in the streets in front of vehicles and on top of makeshift structures.
“City workers were met with significant resistance by protesters, who grew increasingly agitated and aggressive,” a spokesperson for Mayor Jenny Durkan’s office told Fox News.
Workers from Seattle’s Department of Transportation (SDOT) arrived around 6 a.m. local time with trucks and heavy construction machinery and were staged around the edges of the protest area. They ended up leaving the site at 8 a.m. without removing the barriers.
City workers intended to remove barriers blocking roadways and clean up Cal Anderson Park, which has been inhabited for weeks by protesters in tents, the mayor’s spokesperson told Fox News.
Efforts also include offering social services to protesters to “encourage those living overnight in Cal Anderson to begin leaving the area or, if experiencing homelessness, to take an offer for shelter,” the spokesperson said.
The city intends to encourage protesters to leave the area, Durkan announced on Monday, following several shootings that broke out in the zone.
Protesters were apparently holding out on allowing barriers to be removed Friday — which would signal a small step towards compromise with the city — because “we require that our demands are met,” David Lewis, one of the CHOP organizers said, King5 reported.
Protesters designated a six-block radius of downtown Seattle a “cop free” zone, and police from the East Precinct that fell were forced to retreat from the area weeks ago, as demonstrators marched against police brutality and racial injustice following the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis.