Capitol Hill Autonomous Zone, known as CHAZ, refers to a peaceful protesting zone that spans several city blocks in Seattle, according to USA Today.
The zone was created when Seattle police withdrew from the Capitol Hill neighborhood after days of fighting with protesters, according to USA Today. Afterward, a group of peaceful protesters decided to take advantage of the situation and created the nonviolent protesting zone during all the civil unrest and riots.
The police have not returned to this area which provides almost absolute freedom within the neighborhood.
The atmosphere of the zone is reportedly to be festival-like as people peacefully share each other’s fight against injustice, deliver speeches, share food and get creative with expressing their opinions through various forms of art such as paintings and murals. Not only that, but protesters have also pushed for strong reforms in their demands, according to reports by AS English.
These are some of the demands:
- For complete abolishment of the Seattle Police Department and the related court system.
- Complete ban of armed force as the Seattle Police Department is broken up.
- That the Seattle people strongly support black businesses.
- That the federal government starts a full-scale investigation of police brutality in Seattle and Washington from history and current times.
- For reparations concerning police brutality victims
- Conduct a retrial for all people of color currently in prison for violent crime
- To create restorative and transformative accountability programs instead of imprisonment.
Unsurprisingly, the President has not only criticized CHAZ and its protesters but also has labeled them as “domestic terrorists,” according to a statement on Twitter, and threatens to send an army to take back control of Seattle.
However, the Washington governor Jay Inslee and Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan have publicly shown support for the protesters in CHAZ and have fired back at the President, according to the Seattle Times and New York Post.
For some, CHAZ represents how peaceful protesters can bring change not only within their community but also to something larger such as the nation. To others, it is like a social experiment to prove that people can live peacefully without the police. But to many, CHAZ is a symbol of reform and a safe haven where people can coexist peacefully without police and fight for a change within America’s police institution.