Over the past few days, the protests for Black Lives Matter have taken a turn toward occupation in Seattle. The group and their supporters have set up the Capitol Hill Autonomous Zone, known now as CHAZ. When Washington State Governor Jay Inslee was asked about this occupation, he claimed to be unaware of it.
This despite the fact that footage was being played on the national evening news, and photos from the protestors occupation surfacing and trending on social media throughout the day on Wednesday.
When a reporter asked via press teleconference on Wednesday "There's this thing called the Capitol Hill Autonomous Zone, what's your thought about the fact that protestors have taken that over and are not allowing people to come and go freely?"
"Well that's news to me," Inslee said, "so I'll have to reserve any comment about it, I have not heard anything about that from any credible source. Not that you're not credible, it's just that before I espouse an opinion, I should know of which I speak."
The reporter followed up "As far as the National Guard, how long are you going to keep them there, and if there is a takeover of a street in Seattle where they're barricading, kicking people out, the protestors are, would you want the [audio cut out] to be involved?"
"Look, that's a hypothetical. We've got to have safety, I'm sure that people will find a way to have public safety everywhere in the state, I'm confident of that. The National Guard is demobilizing, two thirds of them were demobilized as of yesterday, I don't know if they're completely demobilized or not, but that'll be shortly I believe."
This district in Seattle is where the Seattle Police Department's East Precinct is located, which was taken over by protestors and abandoned by both police and local leaders.
Reports were circulating that by nightfall on Tuesday, militant Antifa members from the John Brown Gun Club had barricaded the area to create a border for their newly occupied territory. They carried AR 15’s while patrolling the area and put up signs that read “you are now leaving the USA.”
Upon hearing about the occupation of downtown Seattle, President Trump tweeted at Washington State and local Seattle leadership.
"Radical Left Governor Jay Inslee and the Mayor of Seattle are being taunted and played at a level that our great Country has never seen before. Take back your city NOW. If you don't do it, I will. This is not a game. these ugly Anarchists must be [stopped] IMMEDIATELY. MOVE FAST!"
In response, Inslee fired back, making light of the typo in Trump's tweet. "A man who is totally incapable of governing should stay out of Washington state's business. 'Stoop' tweeting."
Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan, upon whom the protestors have called to resign, said in reply "Make us all safe. Go back to your bunker. #BlackLivesMatter"
This occupation by protestors and Antifa operatives has support from local city councilpersons such as Teresa Morales and Kshama Sawant. Sawant, an avowed socialist, who appeared to be working with recent protestors in their Tuesday night takeover of Seattle's City Hall, said her piece to Trump as well.
"Trump's threat to send military to Seattle in retaliation against the youth-led anti-racist movement is a sign the right wing is growing scared of the powerful example. We reject Trump and his horrific, reactionary agenda. No military, no national guard, no racist police."
Morales has advocated for looting as a valid expression of civil protest.
"What I don't want to hear is for our constituents have been told to be civil, not to be reactionary, to be told that looting doesn't solve anything," she said during a Seattle City Council briefing on June 1. "It does make me wonder and ask the question why looting bothers people so much more than knowing that across the country black men and women are dying every day and far too often at the hands of those who are meant to protect and serve."
Addressing those protestors who gathered inside City Hall despite its being closed. "This is such a moving occasion. For all the difficult moments I have, having to be around corporate politicians," Sawant said, as the crowd booed in support of her difficulties, "bureaucrats, all kinds of sell-outs, this is what it's all about. When I'm sitting on the dais every moment, I remind myself: they're not my people, you're my people."
It is unknown as to how protestors gained access to City Hall on Tuesday evening.
Those protestors who have created this occupation in downtown Seattle have created a list of demands, although it is unclear if the meeting of these demands by local and state authorities would result in the releasing of downtown from their control.
Last night, the protestors gathered to watch a movie.
It is unclear as to whether or not Inslee was aware of the occupation at the time of the showing. The film played was Paris is Burning.