News and Commentary

Seattle Police Retaking Capitol Hill Neighborhood Occupied By Leftist Activists For Weeks
Members of the Seattle Police in riot gear line up to face protesters during the World Trade Organization's (WTO) 1999 conference in Seattle. What started out as a peaceful protest turned into a violent clash between demonstrators and riot police, with many injuries, over 500 arrests, and major damage to the downtown area.
Christopher J. Morris/CORBIS/Corbis via Getty Images

Seattle law enforcement officials launched an effort early Wednesday morning to retake the Capital Hill neighborhood that fringe activists occupied for weeks. The law enforcement action comes after multiple people were shot and two teenagers killed.

“Due to ongoing violence and public safety issues in the East Precinct/Cal Anderson Park area. Mayor Jenny Durkan has issued an executive order to vacate the area,” the Seattle Police Department said in a statement Wednesday morning. “Seattle police will be in the area this morning enforcing the Mayor’s order.”

“Since demonstrations at the East Precinct area began on June 8th, two teenagers have been killed and three people have been seriously wounded in late-night shootings,” the department added. “Police have also documented robberies, assaults, and other violent crimes.”

Journalist Andy Ngo, who covers extremists on the political Left, wrote: “Tons of trash and junk remain on the streets of CHAZ. Despite promises to hold the territory by any means necessary, protesters didn’t put up much resistance this morning. CHAZ was retaken by police in a matter of minutes.”

The fringe activists had taken over the area after protests and riots broke out across the country in response to the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis last month.

President Donald Trump had suggested that the streets needed to be dominated by law enforcement officials and that the mayhem needed to be ended quickly.

“How long do you think Seattle in those few blocks looks like this?” CNN’s Chris Cuomo asked Seattle Democrat Mayor Jenny Durkan last month.

“I don’t know,” Durkan responded. “We could have the Summer of Love.”

President Donald Trump responded to Durkan’s remarks by writing on Twitter: “Seattle Mayor says, about the anarchists takeover of her city, ‘it is a Summer of Love’. These Liberal Dems don’t have a clue. The terrorists burn and pillage our cities, and they think it is just wonderful, even the death. Must end this Seattle takeover now!”

“Seattle is fine,” Durkan responded. “Don’t be so afraid of democracy.”

Durkan has since changed her tune after demonstrators showed up at her home earlier this week.

The mayor’s office responded by releasing the following statement at the start of the week:

Seattle has a long tradition of peaceful protest and advocacy for progressive change, and Mayor Durkan strongly supports those rights. Mayor Durkan will continue to listen to leaders in Seattle’s Black community. She is working hard to translate the calls for change into real, tangible systemic changes to policing and all the other systems needed for strong and healthy communities. She has prioritized these as Mayor, with investments in housing, education, youth opportunity, and economic equity. She proposes investing an additional $100 million into the Black community.

Mayor Durkan and her family are in the state program to keep their address confidential because of the death threats mostly related to her work as Seattle’s U.S. Attorney under President Obama. Instead of working to make true change, Councilmember Sawant continues to choose political stunts. Tonight she did so without regard for the safety of the Mayor and her family. The Mayor was not even home — she was working at City Hall. Seattle can and should peacefully demonstrate but should not put families and children at risk.

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