‘Border wall’ built around Seattle’s remaining autonomous zone amid plans to clear area


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 1 July, 2020 (AFP via Getty Images)
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 1 July, 2020 (AFP via Getty Images)

A “border wall” consisting of temporary barricades has been built around the remaining encampment of Seattle’s autonomous zone in response to attempts by officials to proceed with its eviction.

The zone, originally self-declared the Capitol Hill Occupation Protest (CHOP) zone, was erected in Cal Anderson Park on Capitol Hill amid the George Floyd protests in the city as a police free occupation.

Thousands of protesters occupied the camp during the protests but occupancy has since reduced significantly with police and park officials recently moving to clear the remaining residents.

On Thursday a judge denied a request for an emergency temporary order from one of the zone’s occupants to halt the clearing of the zone, The Seattle Times reported.

The plea prompted authorities to temporarily halt the clearing of the community, but attorneys for Seattle reportedly said that officials would continue clearing the park imminently if the order was dismissed.

The newspaper reported that since the denial of the request, a number of protesters arrived at the park and began building barricades around the zone’s perimeter.

Photographs posted to social media on Friday revealed the makeshift “border wall” around the encampment. Images also showed residents appealing for donations from members of the public.

City spokesperson Rachel Schulkin told The Times on Thursday that officials have “created a plan” to remove any barricades in the park and will complete “multi-day intensive maintenance,” to clean the area.

In July, the Seattle Police Department began vacating the autonomous zone after Mayor Jenny Durkan issued an executive order to vacate the area following a deadly shooting in the encampment.

“Mayor (Jenny) Durkan believes our City can have mutually shared values: individuals experiencing homelessness should be in safer shelters and spaces, and our parks should not be places with illegal fires, barricades, and individuals who are threatening city workers,” the city’s most recent statement read, according to The Times.

“The City’s goal remains the same — to bring individuals experiencing homelessness inside into safer spaces including hotels and partner with the community to reopen the park.”

Park resident Ada Yeager, the plaintiff in the case for the emergency temporary restraining order will reportedly continue to seek a temporary injunction to stop evictions.

“This suit [has] been just a small part of that resistance, which delayed the raid for 36 hours and counting,” a statement from her attorney’s said.

“In the meantime, Ada and her unhoused neighbors have had the chance to find shelter, organise, and bring more attention to Seattle’s brutal housing crisis.”

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