Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan is ready to bring the Capitol Hill Autonomous Zone, also known as the Capitol Hill Occupied Protest, to an end after shootings occurred in the area on back-to-back nights, KCPQ-TV reported.
At least three people were shot in the protest zone over the weekend, one person fatally. Two of the victims were teenagers. The anti-police stance of the protest created some difficulties and delays for first responders attempting to get to the scenes of the shootings, and victims were transported to the hospital by volunteer medics in private vehicles.
"The cumulative impacts of the gatherings and protests and the nighttime atmosphere and violence has led to increasingly difficult circumstances for our businesses and residents," Durkan said Monday, according to KCPQ. "The impacts have increased and the safety has decreased."
There is little police presence in the protest zone, as the Seattle Police Department has mostly abandoned its precinct. Protesters altered the precinct's sign to read "Seattle People Department." Now Durkan wants protests to disperse and for police to return to the precinct.
"It's time for people to go home, it is time for us to restore Cal Anderson and Capitol Hill so it can be a vibrant part of the community," Durkan said, the Seattle Times reported. "The impacts on the businesses and residents and the community are now too much."
Durkan was previously supportive of the protest, describing it as a "block party" atmosphere and saying protesters might occupy the blocks surrounding a Seattle police precinct for a longer period of time during a "summer of love." She even defended the protest against criticism from President Donald Trump.
Durkan now regrets her choice of words and claimed she was joking when she initially made the comment during a CNN interview with Chris Cuomo
"I clearly said that in jest, it probably was not the smart thing to do," Durkan said.