Seattle police clear out protester-occupied zone

seatle police

Police have cleared out an area of Seattle city centre that was taken over three weeks ago by protesters, some of them armed. Dozens of people were arrested as heavily equipped officers swept into the district on Wednesday morning following an order by the city mayor.

It was city hall that ordered police on 8 June to abandon their precinct after violent clashes with demonstrators. Since then there have been four shootings in the protest zone. Mayor Jenny Durkan said that until now the authorities had “reasonably facilitated an ongoing exercise” of free speech and demonstration rights under the US Constitution in the so-called Capitol Hill Occupied Protest (Chop) zone. But she said those rights “do not require the city to provide limitless sanctuary to occupy city property, damage city and private property, obstruct the right of way or foster dangerous conditions”.

Mayor Durkan, a Democrat, had initially praised the demonstration as an expression of “democracy” and said it could usher in “a summer of love”. On Sunday protesters marched to her house in the wealthy Windermere area of the city calling for the city police department to be defunded by half.(BBC)…[+]