KEY POINTS

  • Protesters have occupied an area of downtown Seattle for weeks
  • Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan previously called the protests a “summer of love”
  • Two shootings over the weekend raised concerns about public safety

After two shootings over the weekend, Seattle officials have announced plans to end a protest that spans several blocks of the city’s downtown area.

Protesters occupied what they call the “Capitol Hill Organized Protest” zone or CHOP after Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan ordered police to evacuate a station inside the zone as tensions between protesters and police rose.

Protesters were marching against police brutality and racial injustice following the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis, Minnesota while in police custody.

Durkan had earlier described the occupied protest as a “summer of love.” She has recently walked back those comments.

Seattle Police Chief Carmen Best said the police department does not have a concrete schedule for returning to the abandoned police station.

Durkan said the pair of shootings and reported violence around the zone were distractions from the messages that generally peaceful protesters were trying to make.

Durkan also said that there was no intention to use police to clear out the roughly six-block zone occupied by protesters. She said city officials were working with community leaders, black-led organizations, and “partners in de-escalation” to end the protest.

“It’s time for people to go home… to restore order and eliminate the violence on Capitol Hill,” Durkan said in a press conference.

Durkan also walked back her “summer of love” comment on the occupied zone in an interview with Q13 Fox.

In the interview, Durkan acknowledged her poor choice of words but said she immediately qualified its meaning while critics ignored the totality of her remarks.

“We think that we can have both public safety and First Amendment protests,” she told Q13 Fox. “Really the question is how do we make sure that we accommodate both of those things.”

The announcement of ending CHOP was made after questions around public safety rose following a pair of shootings over the weekend.

Horace Lorenzo Anderson, 19, died from gunshot wounds on Saturday (June 20)  while another 33-year-old man was taken to Harborview Medial Center for life-threatening injuries.

Another 17-year-old boy was taken to the same hospital Sunday (June 21) for a gunshot wound to his arm. He was later released.

Police said they were met with a hostile crowd when the attempted to respond to the Sunday night shooting.