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Protesters In Asheville, Portland, Nashville, And Chicago Try To Create Autonomous Zones. Police Aren’t Having It.
SEATTLE, WASHINGTON - JUNE 12: A sign inside the âCapitol Hill Autonomous Zoneâ in Seattle, Washington on June 12, 2020. The area named âAutonomous Zoneâ was formed after Seattle Police abandoned its East Precinct during protests against police brutality and the death of George Floyd, an unarmed black man who died after being pinned down by a white police officer in Minneapolis, Minnesota, United States on May 25, 2020. (Photo by Noah Riffe/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)
Photo by Noah Riffe/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

In an effort to replicate the “Seattle Autonomous Zone” in cities nationwide, protesters took to the streets of Asheville, North Carolina, Portland, Oregon, Nashville, Tennessee, and Chicago, Illinois, over the weekend. Warned by what’s happening in the “CHAZ,” though, police departments were quick to shut down those efforts.

In Nashville, the effort was over before it even began.

“Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee issued a warning hours before protesters are planning to take over an area outside the Capitol,” local news in Nashville reported Saturday. “Nashville autonomous zone ‘will not be tolerated,’ Lee said in a statement, citing that camping on state property is prohibited by law and it will be enforced.”

Occupying state property is a misdemeanor in Tennessee and despite organizers encouraging protesters to show up with “tents,” “food,” and other necessities, an autonomous zone never materialized.

In Asheville, members of law enforcement were on hand as demonstrators built their temporary lodgings on Livingston street in the center of the city and dismantled the autonomous zone just hours after protesters declared themselves immune from the laws of the United States.

Protesters were shocked that, unlike in Seattle, the Asheville city government was unwilling to tolerate their continued presence.

“Update on #Asheville autonomous zone. Every cop in Asheville showed up, proving they have nothing better to do on a Friday night. Tore down barricade. As of 11pm est, <100 demonstrators remaining. Need more people & support. Many will be back tmrw. This is only the beginning,” one would-be autonomous zone citizen wrote on Twitter.

Police responded to continued threats of occupation with a statement about blocking public streets. “Blocking a roadway is not only illegal,” they noted, “but dangerous for both vehicular and pedestrian traffic.”

Portland protesters received the same treatment. Cops dismantled the “autonomous zone” almost as quickly as it was erected.

“Portland protesters attempting to establish an ‘autonomous zone’ similar to the one in Seattle abandoned it shortly after erecting it,” the Washington Examiner wrote late last week.

“Footage from Wednesday night shows hundreds of rioters in the city erecting a makeshift fence to cordon off an area,” the outlet reported. After a clash with law enforcement, though, protesters gave up. “By early Thursday morning, protesters had dispersed, according to police.”

Chicago’s tiny “autonomous zone” is hanging on, but probably not for long. The “occupation” is of a single building on the University of Chicago’s campus — the headquarters of UChicago’s campus police department — and it is quickly running out of resources after law enforcement officials, who are still in charge of their own offices, refused to allow the interlopers to use their bathrooms or have outside food delivered.

To be clear, the graduate students are occupying the police department’s building — they are not outside — and did not come prepared for a long-term engagement. Forced to tangle with cops who weren’t willing to allow the protesters to use their facilities, they resorted to defecating in a designated location within the building.

In Seattle, the “autonomous zone” experiment goes on, supported by city officials who deemed the protest a “summer of love.”

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The Daily Wire   >  Read   >  Protesters In Asheville, Portland, Nashville, And Chicago Try To Create Autonomous Zones. Police Aren’t Having It.