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Media Scrambling to Cover Up the Reality about Seattle's 'Autonomous Zone'

Various reports have been emerging from the multi-block residential area that’s been occupied by activists in Seattle, which they’ve dubbed the “Capitol Hill Autonomous Zone (CHAZ). 

Police abandoned the area earlier this week, and the Seattle Police Department’s East Precinct has been boarded up since Monday with a large banner over one wall reading “THIS SPACE IS NOW PROPERTY OF THE SEATTLE PEOPLE,” according to KIRO 7.

The New York Times characterized the zone as a “homeland for racial justice” in an article titled “Free Food, Free Speech, and Free Police.” 

“In a neighborhood that is the heart of the city’s art and culture — threatened these days as rising tech wealth brings in gentrification — protesters seized the moment. They reversed the barricades to shield the liberated streets and laid claim to several city blocks, now known as the ‘Capitol Hill Autonomous Zone,’” the Times wrote.

CNN wrote that right-wing media “grossly exaggerated” their coverage of what’s happening in Seattle streets by disingenuously illustrating a scene of lawlessness and roving armed militants.

Seattle’s Mayor Jenny Durkan told CNN that the six-block autonomous zone is “more like a block party atmosphere” than an “armed takeover.”

However, numerous reports have shown a mix of both narratives: people open-carrying weapons are patrolling the streets and police are reporting being unable to respond to increased crime taking place, and footage shows gatherings that are mostly peaceful and resemble a block-party.

The New York Times article didn’t mention the anecdotal reports from police of “citizens and businesses being asked to pay a fee to operate within the area,” a crime which police say is considered extortion, Seattle police officials said according to Fox News.

The Seattle Police Department’s Chief Carmen Best said that her department had not received “any formal reports” of the zone’s occupants extorting businesses.

CNN dismissed the “right-wing media” claims that “armed volunteers of Antifa” are patrolling the area. However, KOMO News, a Seattle ABC affiliate, fact checked the claim that armed citizens are patrolling the streets as being true, while reporting that it was false that protesters with guns had broken into the police precinct and were occupying the building.

It’s also unclear what the affiliations of the people patrolling the streets have to antifa, although a “Seattle Antifascists” account called for “more people with guns at the CHAZ.” 

The Seattle Police Department says it “has been hearing from community members that they have been subjected to barricades set up by the protesters with some armed individuals running them as checkpoints in the neighborhood,’ according to Capitol Hill Seattle.

“It’s like checking in with somebody to get into your own home,” local resident Mckenzie Diamond KIRO7. “Just making it so people can get into their buildings. Keep the zone however they want, and move the fencing so people can go home.”

Best also added that service calls have “more than tripled” for “rapes, robberies, and all sorts of violent acts that have been occurring in the area that we’re not able to get to,” according to Yahoo News. CNN and New York Times did not mention this claim in the aforementioned articles.

There was also little mention of Raz Simone, the Twitter-verified local rapper that has reportedly been patrolling the barricades with an AK-47 and reportedly assaulting residents who disobey him.

Footage being taken from the ground of the “autonomous zone” does not show much violence, however. In one video, occupants of the zone are seen accompanying police into their precinct, and a black man is seen rebuking a white man who appeared to disagree with the activists’ peacefully escorting police.

People are also seen casually roaming the streets, which a Town Hall reported at the scene described as a “block party.”

Another video shows a “town hall” meeting, where hundreds are sitting and standing discussing issues like trash, medical deliveries and barricade safety, according to citizen journalist Omari Salisbury, who took a live video.

There were also speaking sessions and gatherings to watch movies.

At one point, protesters reportedly called the fire department about a dumpster fire.

Author: Marlo Safi


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