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US PRESIDENT Donald Trump has threatened to “take back” Seattle from “domestic terrorists” who have established a police-free zone, if the mayor and Washington’s state governor refuse to put an end to the peaceful occupation.
The police killing of African-American man George Floyd in Minneapolis last month has sparked intense protests across the US and worldwide, with those in Seattle centred on the city’s historically countercultural neighbourhood of Capitol Hill.
However, the near nightly tear-gassing of demonstrators came to an end on Tuesday night when the local police station was abandoned by the Seattle force.
In the absence of the police and city authorities, protesters renamed the area Capitol Hill Autonomous Zone and have held public meetings, set up free foodbanks, screened films, erected tents, covered the neighbourhood in art and graffiti and barricaded off about six blocks, preventing cars from passing through.
On Monday night, a post shared widely on social media listed a series of demands from the protesters for reform of Seattle’s justice, healthcare, economic and education systems.
“In credit to the people who freed Capitol Hill, this list of demands is neither brief nor simplistic,” the post reads.
“This is no simple request to end police brutality. We demand that the city council and the mayor … implement these policy changes for the cultural and historic advancement of the city of Seattle and to ease the struggles of its people.
“The Seattle Police Department and attached court system are beyond reform. We do not request reform, we demand abolition,” the first demand reads.
It remains unclear how long the peaceful occupation of Capitol Hill will continue. So far, Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan, the police and Washington state Governor Jay Inslee have remained largely silent on the issue.
“Radical left governor and the mayor of Seattle are being taunted and played at a level that our great country has never seen before,” Mr Trump tweeted on Wednesday night.
“Take back your city now. If you don’t do it, I will. This is not a game. These ugly anarchists must be stooped [sic] immediately. Move Fast,” the president tweeted.
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