Call it CHAZ or CHOP, protest in Seattle headed for bad end
The country formerly known as the Capitol Hill Autonomous Zone, CHAZ, has taken on a new name.
CHAZ got a makeover after critics from the right skewered it for trying to become an independent country last week with private, armed security, though they are anti-police.
In response, protest organizers decided to make a change.
“They are not trying to secede from America or anything like that,” says reporter Casey Martin with NPR radio station KUOW. “So they are rebranding it as the Capitol Hill Organized Protest or CHOP. Not everyone’s on board with that. A lot of people still like CHAZ.”
The split represents the various factions now trying to control the six-block area in downtown Seattle that was abandoned by police to protesters last week.
While the mayor of Seattle and her lightweight lefties try to make CHAZ sound like a block party or a “Summer of Love,” Black Lives Matters protesters are offended.
“I think it’s absolutely unacceptable,” said one black organizer of people drinking beer and partying in the CHAZ. “That behavior is unacceptable. If they want a party, they can stay at home and if they want to watch black people die, they can stay at home to do that as well.”
Then there is the far left, so-called anti-fascists in CHAZ.
Seattle talk host Jason Rantz, of KTTH 770, says that members of the “militant Antifa group known as the Puget Sound John Brown Gun Club (PSJBGC) is patrolling the six blocks known as CHOP or CHAZ.”
“The PSJBGC is an anti-fascist, anti-racist, pro-worker community defense organization committed to accountable, community-led defense in the Puget Sound…region of western Washington, in the Pacific Northwest, USA,” says its website.
All the factions vie for both territory and messaging in CHAZ.
And for security.
“It’s not our intent to try to create any paradox to try to incite violence or have that be a motif,” said BLM demonstrator Maurice Cola. “We’re not trying to use our guns to flash around — it’s for defense.”
Rantz shared a video of a fight breaking on in CHAZ.
The combinations of guns and hot tempers and competing messages could very easily make the protest spin out of control.
In the meantime, the city is trying to talk to the protesters about providing basic emergency needs for people in the area.
“We’re trying to work through different plans so if there is a fire, medical emergency, we’ll be able to get in,” said Seattle Fire Chief Harold Scoggins. “There have been incidents inside the area and we’ve been communicating with the teams and working at handoff points and so that’s been our plan up to this point but what we know is that’s a limited plan.”
Ron Amundson, a property owner, whose property now is inside CHAZ, says: “I think that what we don’t want to do is allow bad actors to hijack the protest with their agendas; we don’t want this to end badly.”
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