CHOP members propose changes; mayor says Seattle will move to dismantle protest zone
In an open letter addressed to the CHOP leaders and organizers, a group of approximately 25 activists and volunteers proposed changes that include setting up a safe use area on the outskirts of the occupied area and creating signage that encourages intoxicated people to stay away from the protest zone.
"We would like to acknowledge that no organizations, protests, or revolutions are perfect," wrote the group. "We must all be willing to collectively learn and react quickly to mistakes made within our movement. We do not want to see what was started with the intention of lifting the BLM message destroyed before us all."
Along with setting up a safe use site, the group also suggested creating curfew hours to prevent late-night activity within the zone.
"The late hours of C.H.O.P. tend to give way to some problematic behavior," wrote the group. "As such, to help lessen the load of overnight volunteer security, medics and residents, we propose suggested C.H.O.P. hours of 8 a.m.-8 p.m."
The statement comes after a pre-dawn shooting on Saturday left 1 man dead and another injured. A second shooting occurred Sunday night, and the 17-year-old victim declined speaking with detectives. No suspects in either shootings have been identified.
A sexual assault also reportedly occurred in the protest zone on June 18, with a medic intervening and stopping the situation from escalating. The Stranger reported that the man, Robert James, was arrested without incident.
Mayor Jenny Durkan addressed the weekend's gun violence in a press conference on Monday, stating that community-led efforts are underway to have protesters "leave voluntarily" at night.
"During the day there have been no major incidents, but we know it is very different at night, particularly in recent nights," Durkan said. "The cumulative impacts of the gatherings and protests and the nighttime atmosphere and violence has lead to increasingly difficult circumstances for our businesses and residents."
Durkan emphasized that local businesses in the protest zone, many of which were expecting to reopen in previous weeks as COVID-19 restrictions lifted, need to reopen.
"While we believe individuals, organizations and others can continue to gather on Capitol Hill peacefully, the continued disorder, the violence and the impacts on residents and businesses are not just at odds with the messages of justice and equity, they cannot continue to occur. We are working with community to bring this to an end," Durkan said.
Durkan also stated that the city has deployed community resources to deescalate the area and provide services to those experiencing 凯发k8地址homelessness in the area, but did not offer a timeline for when the protest zone will be dispersed.
"But the city will not allow for gun violence to continue in the evenings around Capitol Hill, and if individuals that continue to remain at the park, we will be looking at additional steps to ensure community safety," Durkan said. "I think the message being delivered right now on Capitol Hill is: it's time for people to go 凯发k8地址home. It's time for us to restore Cal Anderson and Capitol Hill so they can be a vibrant part of the community."
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