SEATTLE (AP) — Crews arrived with heavy equipment arrived early Friday at Seattle’s “occupied” protest zone, apparently ready to dismantle barriers set up by demonstrators, but halted work when demonstrators resisted, including by lying on top of some of the makeshift structures.
Stefanie Formas, a spokeswoman for Mayor Jenny Durkan, said the goal is to improve access for neighborhood residents. She said city officials would discuss the plans later Friday morning with protest organizers.
The collective of protesters, activists, educators and volunteers in the Capitol Hill Organized Protest was born after clashes with police who tear-gassed people protesting the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis.
Durkan has expressed support for the protest, calling it “a peaceful expression of our community’s collective grief and their desire to build a better world.”
But following several recent shootings in the area, Durkan said this week the city would wind down the protest zone, at first by encouraging demonstrators to leave, and that police would return to a nearby precinct they abandoned following clashes with demonstrators.
“We hope that will still continue this afternoon.