SEATTLE — Some businesses in Seattle’s Capitol Hill neighborhood are assisting protesters who have moved into the street outside the police department’s East Precinct.
Demonstrators are calling the area around 11th Avenue and E. Pine Street the “Capitol Hill Autonomous Zone,” or “CHAZ" for short. They want to turn the East Precinct into a community center and said the CHAZ is a police-free zone.
The area is blocked by barricades placed by demonstrators, and within the CHAZ are dozens of Seattle businesses.
Many businesses are boarded up, but tents are popping up outside some businesses with signs that read, "TAKE WHAT YOU NEED." The tents are filled with everything from snacks to first aid supplies and face masks.
The art gallery Vermillion, which is located inside the barricaded zone, has a tent outside built with a plastic sneeze guard. Signs posted on the stand say there are free supplies and list other local shops offering assistance.
However, Seattle Assistant Police Chief Deanna Nollette has voiced concerns.
"We have heard of people ask for ID and that a business was told they needed to make a donation to be in the area,” said Nollette.
Rook, a protester who only provided his first name, said he hasn't seen anything like that happen.
"It's not nothing aggressive or violent, or nothing like that,” he said. “We didn't come out here for any of that."
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Outside of the barricaded zone, Optimism Brewing has signs in its windows which say the business is offering restrooms, charging stations, and water for protesters between 1 p.m. and 9 p.m.
"We have plenty of supplies, please come take what you need," Optimism Brewing posted on Facebook.