A Democrat, who leads one of the nation’s most educated cities, raised eyebrows after describing parts of Washington state where civil unrest runs rampant as neighborhood celebrations.
Jenny Durkan is confident Seattle City Council can manage its new Capitol Hill autonomous zone, 2 miles northeast of the Central Business District. The mayor believes the city should have no problem allowing ‘anarchist’ protests against police brutality to continue without interference from Seattle Police Department in the area bounded by Broadway, East Denny Way, 13th Avenue, and East Pike Street. East precinct police officers are abandoning the building and boarding up windows.
Extreme protests have swept across the nation since the death in custody of Minnesotan George Floyd who local police allegedly handcuffed and kneed his throat before he became unresponsive and later died on May 25, 2020.
“We have had ongoing communications with them, the business, with the residents, and we will make sure we find some way for people to continue to protest peacefully while also getting ingress and egress,” she said in a video shared on YouTube.
When asked about the city’s plan to manage the area, Durkan strangely compared the autonomous zone to an outdoor neighborhood party.
“We have had blocks of Seattle and Capitol Hill shut down every summer for everything from block party to Pride,” she said. “This is really not that much of an operational challenge but we want to make sure that the businesses and residents feel safe and we will continue to move that forward.”
She also vowed to tear apart the regulatory system as soon as possible because it was prejudiced against those who belong to a different race.
“For several hundreds of years, we have allowed a system to build and promote racism to continue to benefit us,” she said. “That will take years to dismantle but we must start immediately.”
She dismissed concerns from the Oval Office that allowing protesters to seize part of the city would only invite more extremists to the autonomous zone.
“The Capitol Hill area is, in fact some of my family is there right now,” she said. “I think it has been described by the president and others as what it is not. It is not an armed antifa militia no-go zone.”
The mayor and Democratic Gov. Jay Inslee also rejected offers from the White House to send in the National Guard to help contain the situation.
“It is unconstitutional and illegal to send military to Seattle,” she said. “I have spoken to Governor Inslee, and together we will assure the people this will not be happening. I want people to know there is no imminent threat of an invasion in Seattle but just as we did at the beginning of this pandemic, and as we have done many times before, we will not wait for a change in Washington for Seattle to act.”