ArchivedFromWikipedia/Capital Hill Autonomous Zone

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Archive Note

This page is archived from: It is currently pending potential deletion on the main Wikipedia page where discussion is taking place. This page matches the main page as of 10 June 2020 @ 17:13 UTC with the exception of added categories, these notes, and removal of the deletion proceedings notes.

The Capitol Hill Autonomous Zone[1] (CHAZ[2] or the Zone), also known as Free Capitol Hill,[3] is a self-declared intentional community and commune of around 200 residents,[4] covering about six city blocks in the Capitol Hill neighborhood of Seattle, Washington.[5] The zone was established on June 8, 2020 after the East Precinct was abandoned by the Seattle Police Department.



Capitol Hill is a district in downtown Seattle known for its prominent LGBT and counterculture communities. The district had previously been a centre for other mass protests, such as the 1999 Seattle WTO protests.[6]

On May 29, 2020, protests began in Seattle following the murder of George Floyd.


The Zone on June 9, 2020

After days of protests commemorating George Floyd and condemning police brutality outside of the Seattle Police Department's East Precinct, Mayor Jenny Durkan announced a series of "de-escalate interactions" which limited the police presence in the Capitol Hill neighborhood. Following a "police retreat",[3] citizens erected street barricades and declared the anarchist Capitol Hill Autonomous Zone.[3][1]


The Zone is concentrated around the East Precinct building. It stretches north to East Olive Street, east to 13th Avenue, south to East Pike, and west to Nagle Place. The southern half of Cal Anderson Park falls inside of the zone, while the northern half is contested.[7] Maps of the territory were displayed on OpenStreetMap and Wikipedia.[2]

Protesters concerned about the potential for another vehicle attack[8] used blockades and fences to construct staggered barricades at intersections.[9] The entrance of the Zone's territory is marked by a barrier reading "You Are Entering Free Capitol Hill",[3] an homage to Northern Ireland's "Free Derry".[10] Other signs declared "You are now leaving the USA."[2][11]

Internal governance

The Capitol Hill Autonomous Zone has no centralized system of governance, operating as a de facto anarchist region. Occupants have stated their intentions of creating a neighborhood beyond policing and a society where the police are no longer necessary.[9][12] In lieu of a police force, external security has been provided by members of the John Brown Gun Club.[7]


Representatives from the Capitol Hill Autonomous Zone released a list of demands on June 9, 2020.[13] The demands fell under four categories: economics; education; the justice system, and health and human services. Authors of the document acknowledged that the zone was on land that was taken from the Duwamish people, writing, "although we have liberated Free Capitol Hill in the name of the people of Seattle, we must not forget that we stand on land already once stolen from the Duwamish People, the first people of Seattle, and whose brother, John T. Williams of the Nuu-chah-nulth tribe up north was murdered by the Seattle Police Department 10 years ago."

The demands include the abolition of the Seattle Police Department and for-profit prisons, an inquiry into present and historical cases of police brutality in Seattle, amnesty for protestors, a specialised 911 mental health system trained in de-escalating mental health crises, the right to vote for prisoners, the de-gentrification of the city of Seattle, electoral reform, educational reform, and the removal of monuments for the Confederate States of America.

Culture and amenities

Tents were pitched next to the former precinct in order to hold the space. The No Cop Co-op was established on June 9, offering free water, hand sanitizer, snacks donated by the community, and kebabs. The intersection of 12th and Pine was converted to a square for teach-ins, where a microphone was used to encourage people who were there "to fuck shit up" to go home. An outdoor cinema with a sound system and projector was set up[14] and used to screen open-air movies.[15] The first film shown was 13th, Ava DuVernay's documentary about race and mass incarceration.[14] Portable toilets were provided by the Seattle Department of Transportation.[14]

Many occupants of the Zone have adopted a pink umbrella as an unofficial emblem.[2] Homemade riot shields crafted by the protesters were stenciled with pink umbrellas.[7]


Mayor Durkan has stated that she will "de-escalate the situation" within the Zone,[16][7] while Seattle police chief Carmen Best said that her officers would look at different approaches to "reduce [their] footprint" in the Capitol Hill neighborhood.[17] Seattle City Council member Kshama Sawant spoke to the Zone occupants at Cal Anderson Park on June 8, 2020.[7] She called for the protesters to turn the precinct into a community center for restorative justice.[14]

On June 9, Senator Ted Cruz from Texas stated that the Zone was "endangering people's lives".[18]


The Autonomous Zone has received recognition from the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW) union.[9]

The Zone has been praised by IWW's Industrial Worker publication.[9]

See also



External links

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