Following two shootings — one of which was fatal — over the weekend at Seattle’s so-called “autonomous zone,” its organizers say that they plan to create special areas for drug use and may even shut down parts of the six-block location at night.
Organizers of the Capitol Hill Autonomous Zone/Occupied Protest (CHAZ/CHOP) are now proposing “safe zones” for drug use and to empty CHOP in the evening to prevent violence at night. According to multiple embedded reporters in the occupied zone, including OANN journalist Jack Posobiec and Shelby Talcott of the Daily Caller, the zone takes on a whole different atmosphere at night compared to daytime.
Despite insistence from Mayor Jenny Durkan that the Antifa-occupied zone has a “block party atmosphere” and represented the city’s “summer of love,” the so-called CHOP has seen multiple instances of violence at night, such as muggings, shootings and an attack on a nearby small business.
In response to the violence, organizers calling themselves the “Voices of CHOP” said on Twitter they are taking measures to change how the zone is run and hope that other residents agree to follow their instructions.
The open letter will be discussed at a group meeting on Monday, wherein they are proposing the creation of a “safe zone” for drug and alcohol use, akin to Seattle’s own “safe injection sites” for heroin abusers. Drug and alcohol abuse is a rampant problem within the zone, and may have caused one of the shootings that occurred over the weekend.
The group proposes that the so-called autonomous zone have operating hours between 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. so protests will only take place during the day. At night, organizers will “thin out the bodies” to prevent overcrowding.
Local residents have taken to Reddit to complain about the disruption of their daily lives due to the zone, whose transients threaten passersby, workers, and people living in the neighbourhood.
“Now I feel unsafe in my own neighbourhood,” wrote one Seattle resident. “A protest is one thing, but a full blown shanty town is not something I am okay with. I want my neighbourhood back.”