The Mayor of Austin Steve Adler (D-TX) refused to take action against the tent cities that are overrunning Austin City Hall, in what many describe as a new "autonomous zone."
Those inhabiting the tent cities are harassing the public while alleged "machete-wielding" security guards police the surrounding area, PJMedia reported.
The tent city arose after Austin residents overwhelmingly voted to reinstate the ban on camping on public land on May 1, according to PJMedia.
The tent city leaves many Austin residents with unanswered questions as camping at city hall has always been against the law.
According to PJ Media, Austin City Council has failed to take action claiming that those occupying city hall are "protesters" and they don’t want to impede on their rights to "freedom of speech."
"I’ve been told by the City Manager’s office and APD that this is a protest and a free speech zone, and so, as such, they’re not moving these individuals right now," Councilmember Mackenzie Kelly said in an interview who is critical of the encampment.
Kelly has been repeatedly harassed outside city hall by armed protesters and plead to Austin residents to call legislators and demand the city take action.
"Today, for the second time, I’ve been harassed and screamed at with obscenities walking out of city hall. One of the men had a metal pipe and atleast one nice," Councilmember Kelly said on Twitter. "I do not feel safe which means others don’t feel safe either," she continued.
"This really needs to be enforced in some way and city leadership is not doing what it needs to protect its citizens," Kelly added. One homeless woman who is currently occupying city hall told KXAN News on Monday that campers have formed their own "security detail."
"We have a whole security team here," Trisha English said, adding that those occupying the encampment take shifts securing the area to make sure they have 24 hour surveillance.
English told KXAN News that she wears a bulletproof vest during her shift securing the property. "I secure this camp to make sure everybody’s okay and make sure things do not get deescalated [sic] to the point where they have to call APD because APD is completely corrupted," English said.
A man with a machete approached English during her interview and asked if she wanted the KXAN News crew there, PJMedia reports. The man said told the reporters that he was security detail for the encampment. Those working security at the encampment wear vests, carry weapons such as knives, and communicate through walkie-talkies, according to PJMedia.
In a video by The Liberty Broadcast, English and other members of the encampment say they’re ready to fight. "You know what I’m gonna do? I’m gonna fight back. If I’ve got to kill a cop before they kill me, you know damn well I’m gonna kill a cop," English said in the video.
Mayor Steve Adler and the Austin City Council were prominent figureheads in the popular democratic 'Defund the Police' movement, spouting anti-police rhetoric while slashing the Austin Police Department’s budget.
Mayor Adler has yet to take action against the autonomous zone despite dire pleas from residents and city councilmembers.
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