MYNORTHWEST BLOG

A look inside Seattle’s newly-formed ‘Capitol Hill Autonomous Zone’

Jun 10, 2020, 9:15 AM | Updated: 2:47 pm
A sign denoting the newly-formed Capitol Hill Autonomous Zone near the East Precint. (Getty Images) Spraypaint denoting the "CHAZ." (Getty Images) Snacks available for crowds gathered in the CHAZ. (Nicole Jennings, KIRO Radio) A sign letting people know they're now entering "Free Capitol Hill." (Nicole Jennings, KIRO Radio) Barriers set up surrounding the CHAZ. (Nicole Jennings, KIRO Radio) Barriers were repurposed by protesters near 12th and Pine. (Nicole Jennings, KIRO Radio) Graffiti inside the CHAZ. (Hanna Scott, KIRO Radio) Free snacks and food is available for crowds gathered in Capitol Hill. (Hanna Scott, KIRO Radio) Protesters have relabeled the SPD precinct the "Seattle People Department." (Getty Images) Tents set up in Capitol Hill. (Getty Images) A crowd gathers to watch Ava DuVernay's '13th' documentary Tuesday night. (Getty Images) Barriers set up near the East Precinct. (Getty Images) A sign outside the East Precinct. (Getty Images)

On Monday, Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan announced that police at the city’s East Precinct would be leaving the area and reopening streets that had been blocked off for almost two weeks. It didn’t take long before what’s become known as the “Capitol Hill Autonomous Zone” began to take shape.

For one speaker, the South Seattle protest was about ‘love and unity’

Barriers originally set up by police have been repurposed to set up the borders of the zone. What used to be the Seattle Police Department on the corner of 12th and Pine now reads “Seattle People Department.”

KIRO Radio’s Hanna Scott and Nicole Jennings spent time in the “CHAZ” Tuesday, watching for hours as a hundred or so people began setting up tents, putting up signs, and preparing to set up camp as part of their ongoing protest against police brutality.

“It was a really energetic day — it was very peaceful,” Hanna reported. “Really a whole different vibe than I’d seen the other nights I’ve been there, a very peaceful experience, almost like a street fair honestly.”

Reporting early in the afternoon Tuesday, Nicole also described free food and medical aid available for demonstrators on every corner. Some food and supplies were also distributed to the homeless population in the surrounding area. The group even reportedly organized its own garbage collection Wednesday morning.

Later on in the night, a projector screen was set up, as the crowd gathered to watch Ava DuVernay’s documentary on systemic racism in the U.S. prison system, 13th. News of that reached DuVernay herself, who gave the group a shoutout on Twitter.

The crowd stationed at 12th and Pine is trying to prove in can operate on its own without the police no longer occupying the East Precinct.

“Their position is that they can take care of themselves,” Hanna said.

The group also recently published a lengthy 30-point list of demands for Seattle City Council and the Mayor’s Office. Some go far beyond what councilmembers like Teresa Mosqueda and Kshama Sawant have proposed in recent days, including a call to “abolish the Seattle Police Department and the attached Criminal Justice Apparatus.”

Opinion: No more reform — it’s time to rebuild Seattle policing

Other demands on the list are more wide-ranging, including rent control, restoration of city arts funding, and free college across Washington state.

Speakers throughout the day addressed smaller-scale changes as well, including one who stressed the importance of investing in black-owned businesses.

It’s unclear how long the Capitol Hill Autonomous Zone will be allowed to remain in the area around 12th and Pine, or even how long police plan to stay out of the East Precinct. In the meantime, though, the crowd appears hunkered down for the long run.

MyNorthwest Blog

Seahawks Broncos...
Bill Kaczaraba

How ’bout those Seahawks!?!

The Seahawks season that began with plenty of doubt started with a win over our former quarterback and ended with a playoff appearance.
14 days ago
Tulalip Christmas Lights 1...
Bill Kaczaraba

2023 – The light has just begun, Seattle days are getting longer

We send you into the new year with the winter lights from the Tulalip Casino in Marysville. We wish you a very successful 2023.
28 days ago
happy holidays...
MyNorthwest Staff

Happy Holidays from KIRO Newsradio, Seattle Sports, and AM 770 KTTH!

To close out 2022, everyone at KIRO Newsradio, Seattle Sports, and AM 770 KTTH want to wish you happy holidays!
1 month ago
WWII Veterans...
Bill Kaczaraba

Dad is just one hero on this Veterans Day

On this Veterans Day, MyNorthwest editor Bill Kaczaraba remembers his dad who served in the Army during World War II.
3 months ago
Mariners Playoffs...
Michael Simeona

Relive Cal Raleigh’s magical home run that sent Mariners to playoffs

Relive Cal Raleigh's game-winning home run that sent the Mariners to the playoffs for the first time since 2001.
4 months ago
Building Black Wealth Graphic_900x506...
MyNorthwest Staff

Watch: Celebrate Juneteenth with Draze’s third annual ‘Building Black Wealth’

Seattle rapper Draze is hosting a live virtual marketplace on Juneteenth for the third annual 'Building Black Wealth' this Sunday at 9:00 a.m.
8 months ago

Sponsored Articles

safety from crime...

As crime increases, our safety measures must too

It's easy to be accused of fearmongering regarding crime, but Seattle residents might have good reason to be concerned for their safety.
Comcast Ready for Business Fund...
Ilona Lohrey | President and CEO, GSBA

GSBA is closing the disparity gap with Ready for Business Fund

GSBA, Comcast, and other partners are working to address disparities in access to financial resources with the Ready for Business fund.
SHIBA WA...

Medicare open enrollment is here and SHIBA can help!

The SHIBA program – part of the Office of the Insurance Commissioner – is ready to help with your Medicare open enrollment decisions.
Lake Washington Windows...

Choosing Best Windows for Your Home

Lake Washington Windows and Doors is a local window dealer offering the exclusive Leak Armor installation.
Anacortes Christmas Tree...

Come one, come all! Food, Drink, and Coastal Christmas – Anacortes has it all!

Come celebrate Anacortes’ 11th annual Bier on the Pier! Bier on the Pier takes place on October 7th and 8th and features local ciders, food trucks and live music - not to mention the beautiful views of the Guemes Channel and backdrop of downtown Anacortes.
Swedish Cyberknife Treatment...

The revolutionary treatment of Swedish CyberKnife provides better quality of life for majority of patients

There are a wide variety of treatments options available for men with prostate cancer. One of the most technologically advanced treatment options in the Pacific Northwest is Stereotactic Body Radiation Therapy using the CyberKnife platform at Swedish Medical Center.
A look inside Seattle’s newly-formed ‘Capitol Hill Autonomous Zone’