President Donald Trump is demanding Washington state Governor Jay Inslee and Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan to immediately "take back your city" or "I will." It comes as protesters have set up tents and blocked streets in one neighborhood -- an area they are calling an "autonomous zone."
After several days of sometimes violent clashes between police and demonstrators in the Capitol Hill neighborhood, Seattle police planned to reopen streets around the East Precinct. Instead, the protesters removed the barrier on their own and have established a four-block zone.
"Radical Left Governor @JayInslee and the Mayor of Seattle are being taunted and played at a level that our great Country has never seen before," Trump tweeted Wednesday night.
"Take back your city NOW. If you don’t do it, I will. This is not a game. These ugly Anarchists must be stooped IMMEDIATELY. MOVE FAST!" the president added, misspelling the word stopped.
"Domestic Terrorists have taken over Seattle, run by Radical Left Democrats, of course. LAW & ORDER!" Trump said in a second tweet.
When reached for comment, Tara Lee, a spokesperson for Inslee, said "He spelled 'stopped' wrong."
Inslee also tweeted, "A man who is totally incapable of governing should stay out of Washington state’s business. “Stoop” tweeting."
Durkan also responded on Twitter.
"Make us all safe. Go back to your bunker. #blacklivesmatter," Durkan tweeted, referring to news reports and confirmation by Attorney General William Barr that the Secret Service recommended Trump go to the White House bunker two weeks ago during protests in Washington, D.C.
The streets outside the Seattle Police East Precinct were the site of clashes between protesters and police in the past two weeks. Mass protests against police brutality have occurred nationwide after the killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis.
But Seattle police say they are concerned about safety and their goal is to reopen the precinct. According to Assistant Chief Deanna Nollette, they have seen checkpoints where people are armed.
"We have heard of people asked for ID and that a business was told they needed to make a donation to be in the area,” Nollette said.
Rooks, a protester who provided his first name only, says he has been at the site day and night and has not seen such behavior.
"It is not nothing aggressive or violent,” he said. “We didn't come out here for any of that."
He says the community is welcome, and while there is no one leader, there is a unified message.
"That's what those faces on the wall. Black lives killed by police,” Rooks said as he looked toward a poster placed on the side of the East Precinct. “We want people to see that those lives matter.”
At the precinct, the sign that says "Seattle Police Department" now says "Seattle People Department." Protesters are calling the area the "Capitol Hill Autonomous Zone" or CHAZ.
Inslee on Wednesday said he was not made aware of the zone. He said two-thirds of the National Guard deployed to Washington protests were demobilizing as of Tuesday. He says a complete demobilization is expected soon.
Inslee's Chief of Staff David Postman said if agencies or police departments need the National Guard, they can still call on them. If the National Guard thinks those requests are valid, they can then get permission from the governor's office to deploy.
When asked what it will take to get protesters to clear the streets, Rooks had a vague answer.
"We're hoping to see a better, if not system, society altogether,” Rooks said.
However, the blocked off area is an obstacle for the fire department, said Fire Chief Harold Scoggins.
“How would we get a person from a medical call out of here,” Scoggins said.
There is little love lost between Trump and Inslee. Washington state has filed numerous lawsuits against the Trump administration. In the early days of the U.S. fight against the coronavirus when Washington state was the epicenter, Trump referred to Inslee as a "snake."