(Reuters) – Seattle authorities, alarmed by two weekend shootings, plan to start dismantling six blocks of streets in a part of the city occupied by activists protesting against police brutality and racial inequality across the United States.
A teenager was killed and at least two other people were wounded in the shootings in what is known as the Capitol Hill Organized Protest (CHOP) zone.
Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan said city authorities were working to bring the CHOP zone to an end and that the Seattle Police Department (SPD) would soon move back into a precinct building its forces had largely abandoned in the area.
“SPD will be returning to the East Precinct. We will do it peacefully and in the near future”, Durkan told a news conference on Monday.
Durkan condemned the violence, writing on Twitter that it was “unacceptable”.
She said such violence distracted from changes in policing demanded by demonstrators.
U.S. President Donald Trump has said the demonstrations in the Seattle protest zone are being run by “anarchists”.
Anti-racism protests and demonstrations against police brutality have spread around the world since an unarmed Black man, George Floyd, died after a police officer knelt on his neck for nearly nine minutes while detaining him in Minneapolis on May 25.
Protesters have also demanded authorities take down monuments honoring pro-slavery Confederate figures and the architects of Europe’s colonies.
(Reporting by Maria Ponnezhath and Kanishka Singh in Bengaluru, Editing by Timothy Heritage)