United States 04 Dec 2020 07:30
Seattle, Washington saw some of the most active protests in the United States in regard to the killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis, Minnesota by the police officer Derek Chauvin. Citizens came out of COVID-19 quarantine to protest despite the dangerous health conditions. The use of tear gas and less lethal weapons during the protests caused citizens to question the excessive use of force for crowd control by police. Seattle police hadn’t used tear gas since the protests during the World Trade Organizations Ministerial Conference in 1999. The city became an epicenter for protester’s demands.
The message of overcoming racism and police brutality expanded into a campaign for community funded programs to take precedence over the Seattle police force. A campaign for the defunding of the Seattle Police Department was central to the protests. One tactic used by protesters in the Capital Hill area of the city was to take over the vacated Seattle Police Department’s East Precinct. Through this action, they turned the surrounding area into a community named the Capital Hill Autonomous Zone (CHAZ), which later changed its name to the Capital Hill Organized Protest (CHOP). Beyond the CHOP/CHAZ, Seattle protests along with the rest of the country saw the most ethnically and economically diverse protests against racism and police brutality the United States has ever seen.