Seattle protest zone remains largely intact

SEATTLE — Defiance continues as the Capitol Hill Occupied Protest zone remains largely intact despite what appeared to be assurances from Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan that the barricades would be moved by Sunday.

By all appearances, things were quiet Sunday at the CHOP zone. But make no mistake, the protesters who remain inside CHOP are still defiant.

“They made the mistake,” said Mohawk Kuzma, a longtime activist. “They can’t play takesie-backsie.”

Kuzma says the protesters regard the East Precinct as an abandoned building. So they are essentially squatting. And they don’t want Seattle police to return.

“So basically, the mayor hasn’t cleared us out because she used to be a former DOJ employee,” said Kuzma. “And basically, she’s engaging in interrogation tactics and scare tactics. So you’re going to try to scare us out of here? We’re not going to move until our demands are met.”

Seattle Department of Transportation crews were prevented from clearing out the barricades Friday. One protester lay in the middle of the street while others sat on the barricades.

Late Friday afternoon, Durkan held a closed-door meeting with CHOP protesters.

“The mayor’s office wants to move everything, except for the ones that are directly outside the East Precinct,” said citizen journalist Omari Salisbury.

He was the only reporter allowed inside Friday’s meeting.

Salisbury said the mayor said then only some of the barricades would be moved Sunday. But Saturday night, that timeline changed after some city staffers met face-to-face with those living there.

Still, there appears to be no consensus.

“Four or five days ago, the people here at the CHOP, I mean they said it live, that they were giving up Cal Anderson. They were giving up the park. And they were putting all their efforts on the East Precinct,” said Salisbury.

He is guessing, and it is just a guess, that the city crews will be back tomorrow.

The only comment from the mayor came in a lengthy tweet she posted after the 5 p.m. newscast.

She said she had held “more than a dozen meetings with organizations, black leaders and protestors.”

“Right now,” she wrote, she is “at City Hall doing the work.”