For the first time in weeks, traffic will be able to pass by the shuttered East Police precinct in Seattle, as protesters have agreed to a change, allowing emergency vehicles to enter the cordoned-off streets.
CHOP (Capitol Hill Occupied Protest) has come to an agreement with Seattle authorities to remove temporary roadblocks, and have them replaced with concrete barriers. This will give access to emergency vehicles that need to pass through the area.
What was named by protesters as the Capitol Hill Autonomous Zone (CHAZ) in the city of Seattle, the six-block area occupied by them has been given a new name, and the area is now called CHOP.
The message of demanding police reform and dismantling systemic racism remains the same. Several blocks near the cities east precinct that is occupied by protesters have been reduced to three after protesters agreed to have the temporary roadblocks dismantled, and replaced by concrete barriers.
The Seattle Department of Transportation is installing the barriers in the middle of Pine Street, running East and West, dividing the road for both pedestrian and vehicle traffic. This will allow for emergency service vehicles to pass through the area, reported Fox News.
Seattle Fire Chief Harold Scoggins, the Seattle Department of Transportation and Seattle Public Utilities have confirmed the agreement with Fox News, and no police will be utilized to organize the barriers.
This new move comes on the heels of the unanimous vote on Monday by the Seattle City Council to ban the use of chokeholds and crowd-control measures such as pepper spray and tear gas.
Seattle police on Friday were issued a temporary ban by a federal judge, disallowing the use of tear gas, pepper spray, and any foam-tipped projectiles against protesters. The court maintained free speech had been stifled by the use of such weapons,“disproportionately and without provocation.”
Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan, who has received disapproval from President Trump over her management of CHOP, tweeted on Monday, “Seattle won’t lose sight of what we need: allowing our community to exercise their first amendment rights, demilitarizing our police force, rethinking who responds to 9-1-1 calls, and investing more to create meaningful change for our black and brown communities.”
Appearing on “Face the Nation” on Sunday, Seattle Police Chief Carmen Best said talks with the protesters are ongoing, and there will be long lasting changes in policing.
“This is a pivotal moment in history,” Best said. “We are going to move in a different direction, and policing will never be the same as it was before.”