After the City of Seattle brought in the Department of Transportation to erect more permanent barriers to enclose the occupied Capitol Hill Zone for protestors and their activities, those activists have blocked roads again.
The idea of the official barricades was that the DOT would enable emergency access to the area. If these barriers had been respected, the occupied area would have been reduced from six blocks to three, and traffic would be able to move through the area.
But CHOP activists, formerly known as CHAZ activists, were not appeased by these official measures. They have already blocked emergency access lanes through the occupied zone just hours after the city almost finished replacing barriers with concrete blocks. The City also permanently closed some of the streets to allow for more foot traffic.
Yesterday, Seattle Department of Transportation began working in the CHOP to implement a compromise between occupiers and Mayor Jenny Durkan. But many viewed the action as giving into activist demands rather than a compromise.
Just hours after the work was almost completed for the day a different group of activists began protesting the “compromise” and parking vehicles to block the new access points for emergency responders, residents, businesses and other area through traffic.
The Seattle Fire Department has been part of the negotiations with the activists since the beginning of the occupation to try and ensure safe passage for emergency responders. Additionally, there have been concerns that if the East Precinct, which has been abandoned by the SPD and the city, were to be set aflame, many connected buildings would also be in danger. This would displace residents and businesses.
The difficulty in negotiating an end to the occupation is that there are so many different groups in the CHOP, ranging from Black Lives Matter to the John Brown Gun Club, with no clear central leadership.
With negotiations seeming to fall apart while the city continues to provide utilities and sanitation services to the activists, there appears to be no end to the occupation for the foreseeable future.
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