13:54 GMT11 August 2020
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    After a so-called “autonomous police-free zone” was established in Seattle in the wake of George Floyd’s death on 8 June, the city’s mayor Jenny Durkan referred to it as a “peaceful expression” of the community’s grief. But the zone has since seen a series of shootings.

    US Police have dispersed protesters in Seattle's Capitol Hill Occupation Protest (CHOP) area also referred to as an “autonomous” and “police-free” zone on Wednesday morning, following an emergency order issued by Seattle’s mayor Jenny Durkan.

    The order was issued on 30 June to respond to “reported life safety, public health and property issues” around the CHOP area that has been occupied by demonstrators since 8 June, after the Seattle police withdrew from the Capitol Hill district, leaving the Department's East Precinct building behind.

    Protester Derrek Allen Rad2cooL Jones II bumps elbows in greeting with a Seattle police officer as police begin to depart the scene of a shooting, Monday, June 29, 2020, in Seattle
    © AP Photo / Elaine Thompson
    Protester Derrek Allen "Rad2cooL" Jones II bumps elbows in greeting with a Seattle police officer as police begin to depart the scene of a shooting, Monday, June 29, 2020, in Seattle

    The move was made as a part of efforts to ensure "trust” and to de-escalate ongoing tensions with protesters, but was harshly criticised by President Trump, who branded the demonstrators in the zone as “anarchists”. On 11 June, Jenny Durkan claimed that CHOP was “not a lawless wasteland of anarchist insurrection” but rather “a peaceful expression of our community’s collective grief”.

    However, since then, a series of shootings have occurred in the area leading to several fatalities and injuries. On Monday, the Seattle Police Department confirmed that a 16-year-old male was killed in a shooting that erupted near the CHOP area earlier in the day.

    On Wednesday, Seattle Police Department confirmed on Twitter that the area is going to be cleared in accordance with the Mayor’s order “due to ongoing violence and public safety issues in the East Precinct/Cal Anderson Park area”.

    “Anyone who remains in the area, or returns to the area, is subject to arrest”, the police added later.

    According to the most recent police information, 23 arrests have been made in the area “for failure to disperse, obstruction, resisting arrest, and assault”. Numerous videos and photos were shared on social media confirming the officers’ efforts to completely clear the CHOP area.

    Tags:
    Donald Trump, George Floyd, Capitol Hill Occupation Protest (CHOP), Seattle, United States
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