(FamilyRetirementClub.com)- The Seattle Capitol Hill Occupation Protest has come to an end.
After Mayor Jenny Durkan issued an emergency order, police began to disperse protestors from the now-infamous CHOP in Seattle, arresting at least 13 people in the process.
Protestors have occupied the Cal Anderson Park area near the East Precinct for a couple weeks now, but after a series of shootings, Durkan ordered the area be cleared in response to “reported life safety, public health and property issues.”
In response, the Seattle Police Department tweeted a message on Wednesday that read:
“Due to ongoing violence and public safety issues in the East Precinct/Cal Anderson Park area, Mayor Jenny Durkan has issued an executive order to vacate the area. Seattle police will be in the area this morning enforcing the Mayor’s order.”
Anyone who returns to the CHOP after being dispersed will be arrested, Seattle police said, explaining:
“Commanders have issued a dispersal order in accordance with the Mayor’s emergency order. All protestors are being asked to leave the immediate area within eight minutes. Safe exit is to the South and West.
“Officers enforcing today’s order are wearing a higher-level of protective gear. Police are utilizing this equipment because individuals associated w/ the CHOP are known to be armed and dangerous/may be associated with shootings, homicides, robberies, assaults & other violent crimes.”
Since the beginning of June, protesters that numbered in the thousands have occupied what has become known as the CHOP or CHAZ, a four- to six-block area in Seattle. They have demanded police reform in the wake of the killing of George Floyd at the hands of Minneapolis police officers.
In the last two weeks, though, there have been multiple shootings in that area, two of which were fatal.
In a statement, Carmen Best, Seattle’s police chief, said:
“This order, and our police response, comes after weeks of violence in and around the Capital Hill Occupied Protest zone, including four shootings, resulting in multiple injuries and the deaths of two teenagers.”
Best said she supports peaceful demonstrations but that “enough is enough.”
In her statement, she said:
“The CHOP has become lawless and brutal. Four shootings — two fatal — robberies, assaults, violence and countless property crimes have occurred in this several block area.
“We must continue our efforts to build trust and redefine our roles as guardians in our city.”
Reports sprung up early Wednesday morning saying some protesters were resisting being removed from the area, while others were saying they shouldn’t be blamed for the violence and destruction of property that has occurred in and around the area.
Community leaders such as Andre Taylor are hopeful that people can continue the push for police reform even as the CHOP will no longer be in operation. As he told CNN:
“It is over because of the violence. I’ve told people here don’t be focused on the location. CHOP is not a location. It is an idea.”