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A Seattle Police officer talks to Seattle Department of Transportation employees as they back out after trying to enter and clear the CHOP area (Capitol Hill Occupied Protest), as people continue to occupy space and protest against racial inequality in the aftermath of the death in Minneapolis police custody of George Floyd, in Seattle, Washington, U.S. June 26, 2020. Photo by REUTERS/Lindsey Wasson

Demonstrators resist as crews arrive at Seattle protest zone

SEATTLE (AP) — Crews arrived with heavy equipment arrived early Friday at Seattle’s “occupied” protest zone, apparently ready to dismantle barriers set up by demonstrators, but halted work when demonstrators resisted, including by lying on top of some of the makeshift structures.

Stefanie Formas, a spokeswoman for Mayor Jenny Durkan, said the goal is to improve access for neighborhood residents. She said city officials would discuss the plans later Friday morning with protest organizers.

The collective of protesters, activists, educators and volunteers in the Capitol Hill Organized Protest was born after clashes with police who tear-gassed people protesting the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis.

Durkan has expressed support for the protest, calling it “a peaceful expression of our community’s collective grief and their desire to build a better world.”

But following several recent shootings in the area, Durkan said this week the city would wind down the protest zone, at first by encouraging demonstrators to leave, and that police would return to a nearby precinct they abandoned following clashes with demonstrators.

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