Seattle police showed up in the city’s protest zone early Wednesday, forcefully clearing out the area of the anti-racism demonstrators after two shootings took place last week.

Police cleared out the area, known as the Capitol Hill Autonomous Zone (CHAZ), then the Capitol Hill Occupied Protest (CHOP), following two fatal shootings, robberies and violence have occurred in the recent weeks since protesters “occupied” the zone. Law enforcement cleared out the area after Mayor Jenny Durkan issued an executive order for demonstrators to leave.

Police Chief Carmen Best told reporters that the “CHOP has become lawless and brutal.”

“Our job is to support peaceful demonstration but what has happened on these streets over the last two weeks is lawless and it’s brutal and bottom line it is simply unacceptable,” Police Chief Carmen Best told reporters.

Police began clearing the area around 5 a.m., taking down fences around protestors’ tents and poking around bushes with batons. A loud bang was heard at about 6:15 a.m. followed by a cloud of smoke, but there is no evidence of clashes between police and protesters. The footage from the protest site showed the police wearing riot gear and protestors showing no resistance. According to Seattle Police, at least 13 people were arrested.


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