Activism

Welcome to the Capitol Hill Autonomous Zone, where Seattle protesters gather without police

By Evan Bush

Seattle Times

Welcome to the CHAZ, the newly named Capitol Hill Autonomous Zone, where most everything was free Tuesday.

Free snacks at the No-Cop Co-op. Free gas masks from some guy’s sedan. Free speech at the speaker’s circle, where anyone could say their piece. A free documentary movie — Ava DuVernay’s “13th” — showing after dark.

A Free Capitol Hill, according to no shortage of spray paint on building facades. And perhaps most important to demonstrators, the neighborhood core was free of uniformed police.

A new protest society — centered on a handful of blocks in Seattle’s quirky, lefty Capitol Hill — has been born from the demonstrations that pushed the Seattle Police Department out of its East Precinct building.

On Tuesday, demonstrators hung a banner on the police station: “THIS SPACE IS NOW PROPERTY OF THE SEATTLE PEOPLE.” Teenagers passed a bottle on the exit ramp for police vehicles. A young man carried a long rifle down the sidewalk, despite the mayor’s ban on weapons in Capitol Hill, which has not been clearly enforced.

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