Protesters and anarchists have seized several blocks of the city of Seattle’s Capitol Hill neighborhood and established an “autonomous zone” complete with a border wall and armed guards blocking entry.
Local leaders have made it clear that federal intervention is not welcome, and White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany told Fox News on Thursday that Trump will only send federal troops to reclaim the seized areas as a “last resort.”
McEnany told Fox that Trump will defer to the wishes of Seattle Gov. Jay Inslee (D) and Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan (D) who kindly told Trump to “go back to his bunker” as the city grapples with how to handle the hostile protesters.
McEnany explained that Trump’s “message is that he will secure the streets in this country,” but that calling in the military is “an absolute last resort backstop” if Washington leaders fail to control the situation.
“He’s emphasizing that tool is always at his disposal, that security is number one,” McEnany continued, going on to say that “ANTIFA will be stopped under the leadership of President Trump from wreaking havoc and burning down buildings and injuring 750 law enforcement officers and destroying 150 federal buildings.”
Though the zone has reportedly remained fairly peaceful since being declared earlier this week, residents in the neighborhood have told Fox News that it’s not all fun and games.
Speaking on the condition of anonymity, some people living in the area have told Fox that rogue “law enforcement” systems have already sprung up in the roughly six-block occupation and that they are “starting to extort money from the local businesses within the border for ‘protection.'”
Armed guards are demanding residents and business owners show proof that they “belong” there. “It’s like checking in with somebody to get into your own home,” said Mckenzie Diamond, a resident of the area. “Just making it so people can get into their buildings. Keep the zone however they want, and move the fencing so people can go home.”
City leaders have warned actual law-enforcement officers to back off and only enter the zone if 911 is called.