The “Capitol Hill Occupied Protest” (CHOP) moved towards disintegration on Thursday as protesters began leaving the area.
Four shootings have occurred in the CHOP over the past several days, leaving one person dead. The area, which covers six blocks in Seattle’s Capitol Hill neighborhood, has also been referred to as the “Capitol Hill Autonomous Zone,” or CHAZ.
“The protesters of CHAZ have targets on their backs, and that is an issue,” Raz Simone, a hip-hop artist and one of the leaders of the protest, told CNN. “A lot of peaceful protesters are being harmed, so it’s sad that’s where we’re at in America.”
Simone added, “A lot of people are going to leave — a lot of people already left.”
A Twitter account purporting to be the official CHOP account also released a statement calling on activists to continue their efforts through “virtual activism,” citing threats to protesters.
An important message from #CHOP #CHOPSeattle. Please amplify. Thank you for your support over the last two weeks. #ChopWasASuccess #CHOPcomms #CHOPCHAZ ☂️☂️☂️ #BlackLivesMatter pic.twitter.com/7e5ISrWvX6
— Capitol Hill Occupied Protest (Official Account) (@CHOPOfficialSEA) June 24, 2020
“We call on everyone to continue the struggle through Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and Snapchat,” the statement reads. “The CHOP project is now concluded.”
The statement continues, “Let’s not let this momentum die. Please remember to continue supporting the kind of revolutionary change we just created by voting for Joe Biden as president of the United States and Jay Inslee as governor of Washington.”
Over a dozen businesses and residents in the CHOP have sued the city of Seattle over the “unprecedented decision to abandon and close off an entire city neighborhood.” The plaintiffs said they did not want to “undermine CHOP participants’ message.” However, “the City’s decision has subjected businesses, employees, and residents of that neighborhood to extensive property damage, public safety dangers, and an inability to use and access their properties.”