Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan said Monday that officials will move to wind down the city’s autonomous protest zone following two shootings in the area over the weekend.
Police officers will also soon return to the abandoned precinct inside the so-called Capitol Hill Autonomous Zone, where demonstrators have camped out for the last two weeks.
“The cumulative impacts of the gatherings and protests and the nighttime atmosphere and violence has led to increasingly difficult circumstances for our businesses and residents,” Durkan told reporters.
“The impacts have increased and the safety has decreased.”
The mayor’s announcement came after the cop-free “CHOP zone” descended into chaos over the weekend.
A 19-year-old man was killed during a shooting inside the blocks-long span on Saturday night. And a 17-year-old was struck in the arm during another shooting on Sunday.
Durkan said the violence is distracting from the work of thousands of peaceful protesters seeking to address racial inequality and police brutality.
“The gun violence unfolding at night is not only wrong, it also is undermining and distracting from the message for change we are hearing in the street and in so many peaceful protests,” she said.
“We are working with the community to bring this to an end,” Durkan added. “Capitol Hill belongs to everyone in this city.”
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