A garden planted in 2020 in honor of the Black Lives Matter movement by rioters 2020 inside the so-called Capitol Hill Autonomous Zone (CHAZ) — formerly the Capitol Hill Occupied Protest (CHOP) — has been removed by Seattle authorities.
The CHAZ, or CHOP, formed within a six-block area of Seattle in June 2020 after rioters were successful in forcing police to abandon the Eastern Precinct. For several weeks, anarchy ensued, until murders in the zone, and pressure from President Donald Trump, prompted its removal.
As Breitbart News’ Penny Starr reported at the time: “The occupied area includes a park, which is also being taken over by the people inside the zone, and the Seattle Times penned a feature about the “guerilla gardening” as part of a “new communal effort.”
Activists took over part of the Cal Anderson Park where circles had been mowed in the grass to encourage social distancing and turned the circles into gardens. The Times noted that activists described the garden as a form of “reparations” for racism.
Now, however, the Times reports that the city has had enough, after the garden attracted crime and became a public nuisance:
The city cited unsafe conditions in and around the Black Lives Memorial Garden, including vandalism of park restrooms, drug use and camping. Releasing statements from several Black leaders supporting its approach, the city also vowed to “conceptualize” a new garden elsewhere at the park.
Black Star Farmers, the group that stewarded the garden, denounced the removal in a statement, saying people who used the space are “mourning the destruction of the physical embodiment of years of collaboration, connecting with plant life” and sharing knowledge, food and medicine.
“In recent months, the temporary garden has created unsafe conditions for all park users, including the vandalism of Cal Anderson public bathrooms, public drug use, unauthorized camping and a significant rodent problem, along with other issues,” [Seattle Parks spokesperson Rachel] Schulkin said.
Seattle saw a political backlash in the wake of the 2020 riots, with Police Chief Carmen Best — the first black woman to hold the post — retiring, and a Republican elected as city attorney the following year, an extremely rare event in a deeply liberal city.
Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News and the host of Breitbart News Sunday on Sirius XM Patriot on Sunday evenings from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. ET (4 p.m. to 7 p.m. PT). He is the author of the new biography, Rhoda: ‘Comrade Kadalie, You Are Out of Order’. He is also the author of the recent e-book, Neither Free nor Fair: The 2020 U.S. Presidential Election. He is a winner of the 2018 Robert Novak Journalism Alumni Fellowship. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.