CHOP organizers urge protesters to occupy police precinct
Organizers of Seattle’s “Capitol Hill Occupied Protest,” or CHOP, are urging demonstrators to leave a tent encampment in the area to focus on an abandoned police precinct.
They reportedly have found it difficult to maintain the Cal Anderson Park tent encampment and restore political morale, and are redirecting their focus to the East Precinct of the Seattle Police Department after occupying the downtown area for three weeks.
“Basically, it’s to bring the attention and the focus back onto why we’re here, occupy protesters, which is to get our demands met,” a protest organizer identified as Angelica C said to the Seattle Times. “And the only way we can do that is to occupy this precinct right here.”
The protesters initially published an article with 30 demands to Seattle’s government before they would agree to depart the area. The list included the dismantlement of the police department, the abolition of imprisonment, free public housing, and socialized healthcare.
Seattle officials have sent mixed messages in the past several days. Mayor Jenny Durkan met with occupants of CHOP on Friday and reportedly said she planned to clear barriers by Sunday morning. However, Seattle Chief of Police Carmen Best suggested reopening of the area may not happen right away.
“This is not a line in the sand, but it’s absolutely necessary for public safety that we are able to respond from that area,” Best said to a CNN reporter. “So, we want to do as much as we can to work with the folks who are left, but we recognize that at some point there is going to be a reckoning for how we can get this resolved.”