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Seattle Officials: Protest Zone Has to Close

Police chief says it's a matter of 'life or death'
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 23, 2020 8:23 AM CDT

(Newser) – Officials in Seattle say they're reclaiming an occupied protest zone that includes an abandoned police station after two shootings over the weekend. "It's time for people to go home" so order can be restored, Mayor Jenny Durkan said Monday, noting officials were working with black-led organizations and "partners in de-escalation" to peacefully remove hundreds of people from the six square blocks in the city's Capitol Hill section, variously referred to as Capitol Hill Occupied Protest (CHOP) and Capitol Hill Autonomous Zone (CHAZ), per NBC News. "I think we've seen across the country and Seattle, it would not be an effective strategy to simply send police in to try to clear the area," Durkan added, per the Guardian. She said the city would continue to accommodate peaceful protests.

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Seattle Police Chief Carmen Best said there was no set time for when officers would return to the East Precinct station. But "we cannot walk away from the truth of what is happening here. This is about life or death," she told CNN. Police are still investigating the two weekend shootings within the zone: A 19-year-old man was killed and another man suffered life-threatening injuries in a shooting early Saturday. Police said responding officers were prevented from reaching the victims, who were taken to a hospital by medics from the protest. A 17-year-old male was then shot in the arm on Sunday night, per NBC. Best said a rape, an assault, a burglary, arson and property destruction had also taken place. As of Sunday, activists had vowed to "stand our ground." (Read more Seattle stories.)

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