CHOP leaders: protesters can stay as long as they want

SEATTLE — The leaders of the Capitol Hill Organized Protest, better known as CHOP, insisted their movement was not over, even as those occupying the area moved out.

“Our movement to liberate black lives is not restricted to one space,” said CHOP leader Naudia Miller, who confirmed reports that the area is being dissembled.

Regarding how long protestors may remain inside, Miller added that it will depend on each person’s free will.

“We are like water,” she said, referring to the protesters. “We are not confined to this space, so we will stay here for as long as the people want to stay here.”

CHOP leaders also addressed the lawsuit that Capitol Hill businesses filed against the City of Seattle.

In that lawsuit, merchants said they suffered economic ruin because the city allowed CHOP to happen.

“The burden of owning a business doesn’t compare to struggles of living in nation that’s built on anti-black racism,” Miller commented.

Those who are still in CHOP agreed with Miller, telling KIRO 7 News that lost money isn’t as important as lost lives.

“We need to hold on together,” said protestor Alice Cooper. “There’s too much division. We need to be stronger as one.”

In that mindset, CHOP leaders insisted their efforts are far from over.

“We need every one of us to step up in a way that’s in our capacity, because we are dealing with trauma,” Miller said, adding that the only difference going forward is that Capitol Hill will no longer be a staging ground for Black Lives Matter.

Miller also spoke about everything that’s happened at the East Precinct, saying protesters’ takeover of the building was fair game after police used tear gas to disperse CHOP attendees.

“The Seattle Police Department chose that location when they terrorized people on Pine Street, and when they tear gassed people in their homes,” she commented.