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Future of CHOP ‘fluid’ as protesters mull next steps

Demands outside the CHOP in Seattle. (Getty Images)

Mixed reports came out of Seattle’s CHOP area Wednesday, as organizers looked to clarify rumblings over whether or not the protest was coming to an end.

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Rumors began to fly when a Twitter profile purporting to be the “official” account of the CHOP said that the “project is now concluded.” It has not yet been verified what the account’s affiliation actually is with the protest.

Others within the protest called its claims into question Wednesday.

“We are staying here … either you go hold ’em or fold ’em; we don’t plan on folding anything,” one of the CHOP’s leaders told KIRO Radio’s Hanna Scott. “The fight goes on.”

Scott reports that the situation has been “fluid,” as factions within the protest have been split over the fate of the movement.

“There’s definitely still friction here,” she noted. “[It’s] a smaller group than I’ve seen here before, but still multiple groups with one goal of trying to get everybody on the same page.”

This came on a day when the area’s footprint shrank considerably, with many of the protesters who had been camped out in Cal Anderson Park packing up and leaving early Wednesday morning. Several tents remained directly in front of the East Precinct, and many people have said that they intend to stay for the foreseeable future.

“This is not over,” one protester camped in front of the precinct told Converge Media’s Omari Salisbury.

“We’re not leaving,” said another.

City leaders have intimated that they would like to have police back in the precinct sometime in the near future, following a string of shootings that took place in the area between Saturday and Tuesday.

Opinion: Seeing through the noise as CHOP debate rages

Not This Time’s Andre Taylor joined that call Wednesday, urging protesters to leave.

“Listen — this is over,” he said, warning that the recent shootings have undercut the larger message. “All the people that have supported you, they’re gonna turn, because they don’t want to see themselves associated with violence.”

Taylor, who worked with the state and other leaders to create police reform Initiative 940, expressed disappointment that some demonstrators appear to be set on refusing to allow police back into the East Precinct.

He argued that the principles of the CHOP transcend the protest itself.

“Do you understand that this is an idea?” he posited. “You can take this not only around the country, but around the world. You can have a space all over this world, but they don’t have that vision.”

A group that identifies itself as the “Black Collective Voices of CHOP” will be holding a press conference Thursday at 12:20 p.m., where it will “address plans for future participation in the movement.”

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