President Trump on Wednesday night demanded that Seattle officials “take back” what has become a cop-free protest space in the center of the city.
Demonstrators have occupied the roughly six-block Capital Hill area dubbed the “Capitol Hill Autonomous Zone” or CHAZ.
Inside the zone people congregate as free snacks are reportedly doled out at a “No-Cop Co-op” and films on racial justice are screened at night.
Trump on Twitter slammed Washington Gov. Jay Inslee and Mayor Jenny Durkan for allowing the area to be handed over to protesters he described as “domestic terrorists.”
He also warned that he would take action if they did not shut the demonstration down.
“Radical Left Governor @JayInslee and the Mayor of Seattle are being taunted and played at a level that our great Country has never seen before,” Trump wrote. “Take back your city NOW. If you don’t do it, I will. This is not a game. These ugly Anarchists must be stooped [sic] IMMEDIATELY. MOVE FAST!”
Inslee responded on Wednesday night by mocking Trump’s typo.
“A man who is totally incapable of governing should stay out of Washington state’s business. ‘Stoop’ tweeting,” Inslee wrote on Twitter.
The zone was born out of days of violent clashes between cops and the protesters who hoped to push the Seattle Police Department out of their East Precinct building in the area.
Mayor Durkan, who has faced mounting calls from protesters to resign, ordered police to leave the building Monday, explaining the directive on Twitter as a way to “proactively de-escalate interactions between protestors and law enforcement outside the East Precinct.”
On the police station now hangs a banner reading, “THIS SPACE IS NOW PROPERTY OF THE SEATTLE PEOPLE.”
“Right now at CHAZ there is food, security, bathrooms, art, love, public discourse, action, education, film viewing, and much needed community building,” tweeted one protester.
The zone has no singular leader and is premised on defunding and abolishing the city’s police force.
The protesters who have claimed the space published a letter Tuesday listing demands, including the dismantling of the police force and the end of the use of armed force, including guns, batons and riot shields.
“We demand that the City Council and the Mayor, whoever that may be, implement these policy changes for the cultural and historic advancement of the City of Seattle, and to ease the struggles of its people,” reads the letter.