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Mayor Durkan meets with protesters, says barricades to be removed Sunday

Seattle Department of Transportation workers talk with protest organizers near the Seattle Police Department East Precinct building after SDOT arrived at the the CHOP (Capitol Hill Occupied Protest) zone in Seattle, Friday, June 26, 2020, with the intention of removing barricades that had been set up in the area. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)

Representatives from the Seattle Department of Transportation, Mayor’s Office, and Fire Department were all at the CHOP Friday morning, intending to remove concrete and wooden barriers from the area.

Video from Converge Media showed SDOT head Sam Zimbabwe, Fire Chief Harold Scoggins, and Mayor Jenny Durkan’s Chief of Staff Stephanie Formas on-site speaking to protesters, alongside several SDOT workers in hard hats and construction vehicles.

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Formas assured protesters that there are no plans to remove protesters, or return police to the East Precinct today. She also said there is no exact timeline for when that might happen.

Several demonstrators attempted to negotiate with Zimbabwe and the Mayor’s Office representative, asking that they keep some of the barriers in place. Others were seen laying down in front of bulldozers and sitting on top of wood barricades.

Close to 7:30 a.m., SDOT began moving its construction vehicles out of the area without removing barricades.

On Friday afternoon, Mayor Durkan met with a group of protesters inside a Capitol Hill church. Local activist Andre Taylor and Fire Chief Scoggins were in attendance. Converge Media’s Omari Salisbury was originally allowed to live tweet the meeting, but later reported on Twitter that he was asked to stop.

Salisbury was the only journalist in the meeting, and provided a live Facebook update after the meeting ended in Capitol Hill. The group of protesters wanted the live stream to occur, he clarified, but Taylor and Durkan asked for no stream to create more of an “intimate setting.” Salisbury said the mayor later asked him personally to stop live tweeting.

The meeting began with the Mayor talking about what she’s done, Salisbury reported, including a proposed budget, transferring Fire Station 6 to Africatown Seattle, and talked about Cal Anderson Park. They then opened up the floor to discuss the list of demands pictured below.

The mayor struck down a lot of the demands, Salisbury said, saying that some of them were already accomplished (policies surrounding body cameras) while others are not in her power or are out of the city’s hands (in the case of removing qualified immunity, for example).

One protester asked for a comprehensive plan with human services for homelessness and mental health issues in the area, to which the mayor responded that they are working on a plan immediately.

On Sunday morning, Salibury reported that the mayor said the plan is to remove most of the barriers out of the street and have everything cleared with the help of SDOT and Parks and Recreation. For now, the campers can remain in front of the East Precinct.

This is a developing story. Check back for updates. 

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