What’s next for Seattle’s Autonomous Zone?

Nine days after Seattle’s Capitol Hill Autonomous Zone, “CHAZ” was created, protestors renamed it “CHOP,” the Capitol Hill Occupied Protest.

The name change was part of an effort to re-focus attention on the protests against police brutality, and the defunding of the Seattle Police Department. Some organizers are worried that the area is turning into a “block party” for curious Seattleites, and losing the momentum of a political movement. The shift also comes after some right-wing media claimed that protestors were intent on seceding from the United States altogether.

The initial confusion surrounding the name change can also be seen as a symptom of disagreement among the protestors themselves. While some organizers are intent on keeping focused on issues of police brutality, there are others who want to expand the mission, and turn the protest zone into an anarchist space offering mutual aid to marginalized groups.

Some protestors would like the Police Precinct at 11th and Pine to be turned into a community center. While police have gone in and out of the East Precinct since the zone’s creation, the building’s future remains unclear.

On June 16th, the Seattle Department of Transportation and the city’s Fire Department swapped CHOP’s plastic orange barricades for concrete ones, opening up traffic on 12th Street, and providing security for protestors concerned about cars attempting to drive through the zone.