Remember Monday when Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan said it was time for CHOP protesters to go home? This morning the city tried to make good on that promise by sending trucks to the CHOP to dismantle barriers, but things didn’t go as planned:
The SDOT workers arrived around 6:00 a.m. Friday with trucks and heavy machinery.
An hour later no work had started, but workers were staging on 12th Ave. at the edges of the protest. But by 8:00 a.m., SDOT crews and the few police officers at the scene appeared to leave the area.
At least one protester was seen laying in the street, but moved a short time later.
Another protester kept saying “no agitating.” Several cars were also parked in the street on 12th Ave.
The city also planned to clear out Cal Anderson Park which is filled with tents. But it appears the city has not given the protesters another 72 hours to negotiate over the removal of the barriers.
A group known as Black Collective Voices said they will continue to hold space in the CHOP if the people choose to do so.
David Lewis, one of the CHOP organizers, said Friday the city will give organizers 72 hours to confer with demonstrators before the barriers are moved. One of the barriers on 13th Ave. is expected to be moved Friday, and the rest will be negotiated after the waiting period.
“We have heard them in recognizing that some of the establishments are wanting more through traffic,” said Lewis. “We get it. We want to work with the city, but we require that our demands are met.”
It’s too little, too late to think about allowing more traffic now. As Ed wrote yesterday, a group of business owners has filed a class-action lawsuit claiming the city is complicit in allowing CHOP to shut down the streets to traffic and thereby damage their ability to continue working. The protesters have already said they don’t intend to leave until their demands are met, so it’s not clear what another 72 hours is going to do to change their minds.
The whole reason Mayor Durkan announced Monday that it was time to move on because last weekend three people were shot, one of whom died. There was another shooting in which a person was injured on Tuesday. But the sense of urgency the mayor expressed Monday seems to have evaporated. Now she has apparently granted the protesters another weekend without police. Are we going to see more violence this weekend? Thanks to Mayor Durkan, we’ll have to wait 72 hours to find out.
Here’s a report from KING 5 on what happened this morning.