Knowing the danger journalists faced in CHAZ, I tried to blend in by dressing in the “black bloc” uniform popularized by Antifa. I avoided speaking to people on the chance they would recognize my voice. When they viewed me as one of their own, they were incredibly kind. They offered me water and snacks throughout the day. Suspicious “outsiders,” on the other hand, were immediately tailed by security.
Despite the pleas from those who live and work inside Capitol Hill for law and order to be restored, Seattle’s city council has determined that CHAZ should continue. On Tuesday, the city even provided upgrades to CHAZ, including street blockades that double as graffiti canvases, along with cleaning services and porta-potties.
It is difficult to decipher what CHAZ occupants want. Each faction, whether liberal, Marxist or anarchist, has their own agenda. But one online manifesto posted on Medium demands no less than the abolishment of the criminal justice system.
What will happen if demands aren’t met? Jaiden Grayson, a young black woman who has developed a large following in CHAZ, told a filmmaker: “Respond to the demands of the people or prepare to be met with any means necessary. … It’s not even a warning. I’m letting people know what comes next.”