The CHAZ or CHOP area in Seattle was founded on June 8th and in just a few short days the replicas are hot of the press. In Portland, Asheville and Nashville protesters have tried to takeover areas through peaceful occupation and declare them autonomous zones. Most have seen little progress as the situation in CHOP/CHAZ was unique. For those who are unaware, Seattle had seen protesters gassed by police to enforce the curfew in the Capitol Hill neighborhood. Since the protesters claimed the police were instigating violence the police withdrew from the neighborhood to ease tensions. Afterwards, protesters and a large mix of people stayed in the area, fixed up barricades around the street and began calling it the Capitol Hill Autonomous Zone. Some people have called it occupied however there is no police, government or restriction on movement in the area thus it is closer to a protest zone which was reflected in the name change Capitol Hill Occupying/Organized Protest. The others have been even less organized, only centered on a protest.
The first one I’ve seen proof of is in Portland the night of June 10th when protesters were gathered and shouting autonomous zone but didn’t accomplish anything. On June 11 protesters tried to seal themselves into an area with chain-link fence which the police disrupted and ended fairly quickly. In Asheville, North Carolina on June 12th protestors tried to create barricades but police tore them down and the protesters dispersed. On the same day in Nashville, Tennessee protestors tried to create another Free Capitol Hill on the grounds of the state capitol by taking over the Legislative Plaza. They began setting up tents and renamed the plaza Ida B. Wells Plaza after the civil rights activist. This was poignant as the statue of Edward W. Carmack, a strong of opponent of hers, was previously torn down on May 31. Tennessee Governor Bill Lee warned it wouldn’t be tolerated and he won’t allow protesters to encamp on state property. Cameron Sexton, the Speaker of the Nashville House of Representatives, supported the Governor’s position. Tensions are also on edge in this situation not just due to the protests or rioters but also because the Nashville’s Metropolitan Courthouse was set on fire May 30th. This isn’t very far from the capitol and officials may be worried of damage to state property, exacerbating a tense standoff.
These are the goals the protesters at Tennessee:
In Chicago there doesn’t seem to be an autonomous zone but there is an occupying protest designed to abolish a police department which is similar to what happened before CHOP/CHAZ was established. There was a sit-in at the University of Chicago Police Department as well as protestors in Hyde Park.
Any new developments will be recorded here.
CHOP/CHAZ – Occupied Protest
Nashville, Tennessee – Occupied Protest
Chicago, Illinois – Protesting
Portland, Oregon – Fail
Asheville, North Carolina – Fail
Nashville Autonomous Zone
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