JASON RANTZ

Rantz: Confusion as Seattle activists change CHAZ to CHOP

Jun 13, 2020, 8:09 PM | Updated: Jun 14, 2020, 7:28 am

It’s time for a brand new name for the Capitol Hill Autonomous Zone (CHAZ). Some organizers now refer to the commandeered 6-block radius as Capitol Hill Occupied (or Organized) Protest (CHOP). But some folks are confused.

Activists have been removing signs from the site formerly known as CHAZ in hopes that the new CHOP name better reflects their action.

The change was made, one unnamed organizer said, because “this is not an autonomous zone, and we’re not trying to secede from the United States.”

He claimed that outsiders called it CHAZ, though provided little evidence. Indeed, protesters at the site previously known as CHAZ actively embraced the old name. But, CHOP it is. We’re just not entirely sure what the “O” stands for.

On Saturday afternoon, one organizer on a bullhorn announced the change from CHAZ to CHOP. He said the “O” stands for “Occupied.” But another organizer confidently declares it “Organized.”

So which is it?

It’s unclear who decided to make the name change from CHAZ to CHOP. There’s no leader at CHAZ/CHOP, and it’s a space occupied by a variety of groups and community organizers. But last night, the change discussion turned to action as activists began to pull down signs reading Capitol Hill Autonomous Zone.

And there were some tense moments Friday night as the CHAZ signs came down.

There apparently wasn’t agreement on the change, so bickering and a small skirmish ensued. One activist would end up chiding them for being focused on the wrong issue — CHAZ to CHOP — than on police brutality and racism.

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