SEATTLE, Washington (AP) — Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan met with demonstrators Friday after some lay in the street or sat on barricades to thwart the city’s effort to dismantle an “occupied” protest zone that has drawn scorn from President Donald Trump and a lawsuit from nearby businesses.
Crews arrived with heavy equipment early Friday morning at the Capitol Hill Occupied Protest, an occupied protest zone in Seattle, ready to dismantle barriers set up after protesters seized the area June 8 following clashes with police. But by mid-morning, they appeared to have backed off rather than risk conflict.
Businesses, workers and residents sued the city of Seattle on Wednesday, saying local leadership enabled and endorsed the occupied zone at the detriment of “basic public safety.”
At least a dozen businesses filed the class-action lawsuit, which came as a result of Seattle’s Capitol Hill Organized Protest (CHOP)’s continued proliferation in the city.
Faced with growing pressure to crack down on an “occupied” protest zone following two weekend shootings, Seattle’s mayor said Monday that officials will move to wind down the blocks-long span of city streets taken over two weeks ago that President Donald Trump asserted is run by “anarchists.”
Mayor Jenny Durkan said at a news conference that the violence was distracting from changes sought by thousands of peaceful protesters seeking to address racial inequity and police brutality. She said the city is working with the community to bring the “Capitol Hill Occupied Protest” zone to an end.