President Donald Trump called for Washington Gov. Jay Inslee (D) and Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan (D) to regain control over the “Capitol Hill Autonomous Zone,” a six-block area of the city taken over by protesters and declared a police-free jurisdiction.
Durkan ordered police to surrender the East Precinct on Monday in an effort to de-escalate conflict between officers and protesters. Protesters then established a barricaded zone around the precinct, with armed individuals reportedly controlling entry and exit.
Assistant Police Chief Deanna Nollette said she has heard anecdotally that businesses within the zone have been asked to pay a fee in order to continue operating.
“Radical left Governor Jay Inslee and the mayor of Seattle are being taunted and played at a level that our great country has never seen before,” President Trump wrote on Twitter on Wednesday night. “Take back your city NOW. If you don’t do it, I will. This is not a game. These ugly anarchists must be stopped IMMEDIATELY. MOVE FAST!”
Inslee claimed Wednesday that he was unaware of the situation in Seattle, although it has been the subject of national news reports for days.
“Well, that’s news to me,” Inslee said. “So, I’ll have to reserve any comment about it. I have not, I have not heard anything about that from a credible source, not that you’re not credible, it’s just like before I espouse an opinion, I should know of which I speak.”
The zone is apparently not run by any one person or group. Activities in the zone have included town hall discussions, mural painting, and a viewing of a documentary about racism in the criminal justice system.
A list of demands from the protesters was published on Medium, and includes the abolition of the Seattle Police Department, including defunding existing pensions for officers. The list also calls for an end to all use of armed force against protesters, a ban on Immigration and Customs Enforcement in the city of Seattle, free college in Washington, and rent-control policies to affect “de-gentrification.”