Seattle to end police-free protest zone after shootings

(BBC) – Seattle’s mayor has said the city plans to take back a district that is being occupied by armed protesters, after three people were shot at the weekend.

Mayor Jenny Durkan said the violence had become “increasingly difficult” for businesses and residents.

She said the city would work with the demonstrators to end the so-called Capitol Hill Occupied Protest zone.

The city centre zone was taken over by protesters on 8 June after police withdrew following violent clashes.

What did the mayor say?

Mayor Durkan, who has been under growing pressure to crack down on the protest zone, told a news conference on Monday the city police department would return to its precinct “peacefully and in the near future”.

“The cumulative impacts of the gatherings and protests and the night-time atmosphere and violence,” she said, “has led to increasingly difficult circumstances for our businesses and residents.

“The impacts have increased and the safety has decreased.”

Her announcement followed a shooting on Sunday night at the edge of the zone in the Capitol Hill neighbourhood.

The 17-year-old victim, who was shot in the arm, refused to speak to the police.

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