Photos: Police, City Workers Dismantle Seattle’s CHOP, Clear Out Protesters

Updated: 2020-07-02 15:12:50

The City of Seattle on Wednesday cleared the Capitol Hill Autonomous Zone (CHOP)—set up last month by Black Lives Matter demonstrators, anarchists, and self-described Marxists—as police arrested some remaining protesters on Thursday morning.

The police department wrote that individuals in a crowd of demonstrators were throwing bottles at officers.

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Police and city workers fill a street occupied hours earlier by an encampment of protesters on July 1, 2020. (Elaine Thompson/AP Photo)

“Officers deployed pepper spray and are making arrests,” the police department wrote in a statement on Thursday morning.

Seattle Police said that they will continue to make arrests to “ensure safety in the area,” according to another statement.

“Seattle Police have made 44 arrests for failure to disperse, assault, obstruction, pedestrian interference, and malicious mischief,” the department said, adding that pepper spray was deployed “during the arrest of an individual who was armed with a metal pole.”

“In a separate incident, an officer used a single less-lethal 40 mm sponge round on a man who appeared to be brandishing a metal pipe,” it said.

The move to disperse CHOP came after several shootings, which left two people dead in the area, as well as a spike in crime.

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Seattle police take over and reenter the East Precinct early July 1, 2020 after the area around the police station was occupied by protesters for the last month. (Mike Siegel/The Seattle Times via AP)

On Wednesday, city crews were seen with heavy machinery clearing concrete barriers, makeshift encampments, signs with graffiti, and other debris.

“I was just stunned by the amount of graffiti, garbage, and property destruction,” Seattle Police Chief Carmen Best was quoted saying by local news outlets as she toured the area.

Sanitation workers were also seen scrubbing the pavement and cleaning graffiti from buildings.

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Workers use a bulldozer to remove remaining items from an encampment outside the Seattle Police Department’s East Precinct after police cleared the Capitol Hill Occupied Protest (CHOP) in Seattle, Washington, on July 1, 2020. (Jason Redmond/AFP via Getty Images)
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Workers use a bulldozer to remove remaining items from an encampment outside the Seattle Police Department’s East Precinct after police cleared the Capitol Hill Occupied Protest (CHOP) in Seattle, Washington, on July 1, 2020. (Jason Redmond/AFP via Getty Images)
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Seattle Police walk across Cal Anderson Park in Seattle on July 1, 2020, as they sweep people away. (Steve Ringman/The Seattle Times via AP)

On Wednesday, Mayor Jenny Durkan authorized police to remove protesters who are “unlawfully occupying Cal Anderson Park area” near CHOP.

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Seattle Police finish their sweep on July 1, 2020, on the north end of Cal Anderson Park, sweeping everyone off the grounds. (Steve Ringman/The Seattle Times via AP)
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A worker removes a rendering of a clenched fist from a Seattle Police precinct in Seattle on July 1, 2020. (Elaine Thompson/AP Photo)
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Seattle police block a street with their bicycles in the Capitol Hill Organized Protest zone early on July 1, 2020. (Aron Ranen/AP Photo)

U.S. Attorney General William Barr commended Best in a statement for distinguishing between the right to protest and violent crime in “restoring the rule of law.” Barr did not mention Durkan, a Democrat who has been a target of Republican President Donald Trump’s ire.

Harry “Rick” Hearns, a protester who said he volunteered to provide armed security at CHOP for 24 straight days, told Reuters he supported the police crackdown “1,000 percent.” He blamed the violence on outsiders who he said had marred an otherwise successful monthlong occupation.

Reuters contributed to this report.

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source : www.theepochtimes.com
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