Conservative media has been pushing the narrative that “armed antifa” thugs are in control of the so-called capitol hill autonomous zone. Indeed, antifa is there. And numerous witnesses attest to at least some of them being armed.
But if you read the mainstream media and listen to Seattle authorities, you get a quite different picture.
It is true that demonstrators have occupied a small, six-square block section of Seattle and designated it an “autonomous zone.” And it is true that, after clashes with police, a precinct was boarded up and evacuated in an attempt to deescalate the situation.
But claims that bands of militant Antifa members are roving the Seattle streets appear to be grossly exaggerated in right-wing media. In fact, according to the Seattle mayor’s office, city officials haven’t seen any evidence to indicate armed members of Antifa are even on the ground.
“City officials have not interacted with ‘armed antifa militants’ at this site, but will continue to be on site to monitor the situation closely,” Lori Patrick, a spokesperson for the Seattle mayor, told CNN Wednesday night.
Surreal. Authorities have not only abdicated their responsibilities, they are cooperating with antifa.
“In the days since,” Patrick said, “city employees, including representatives from the mayor’s office, the Seattle fire chief, and our first responders have been on site continuously with unimpeded access working with organizers to ensure the area is safe for peaceful demonstrations, and that those who gathered have access to hygiene and sanitation services.”
Washington Gov. Jay Inslee described the scene on Thursday as “unpermitted,” but “largely peaceful.”
So the fire chief and first responders have been on site, but what about police?
Local news channel KOMO-TV, a CNN affiliate, reported that demonstrations remained peaceful on Wednesday, and featured music, dancing, and a movie screening.
The New York Times, which had a reporter on the ground, described the occupied area as “part street festival, part commune.”
Anarchists having a party doesn’t make them all cuddly and embraceable. In fact, this is an extremely volatile situation that could go south in an instant.
“Hundreds have gathered to hear speeches, poetry and music,” Mike Baker, a Pacific Northwest correspondent for The Times, reported. “On Tuesday night, dozens of people sat in the middle of an intersection to watch ’13th,’ the Ava DuVernay film about the criminal justice system’s impact on African-Americans. On Wednesday, children made chalk drawings in the middle of the street.”
So if things are all love and roses, why do the mayor and the governor not move in to retake control of their city? They’re going to have to do it eventually. They might ask authorities in Oakland what happened when they moved out Occupy Wall Street.
They are putting off a confrontation, not stopping it. And antifa has absolutely no incentive to vacate their little police-free state. They have taken the temperature of their opponents in government and found it wanting.
Secretly, I bet both the mayor and the governor hope that Trump makes good on his threat to clear the area and give it back to the city. They want no part of the blood that will surely be spilled if the cops move in.