Dispatches from the Capitol Hill Autonomous Zone (and Free CHAZ Photos You Can Use)

ACAB on barricade at Capital Hill Autonomous Zone


Once you have an autonomous zone, what are you supposed to do with it?

A little bit of everything, apparently.

CHAZ participant gives out free pizza
Pizza for all at CHAZ

Walking around the Capitol Hill Autonomous Zone today, I spotted folks painting murals, playing with soccer balls, staffing a free store, giving out free pizza, strolling with dogs and babies.

There’s definitely a block party vibe, but occasionally the reggae music (someone was blasting Bob Marley) would be interrupted by folks erupting into chants of “Black Lives Matter.”

Following weeks of police brutality against anti-racist protestors, the police abandoned the East Precinct.

On June 8th this autonomous zone was declared. Here is a link to the organizers’ demands:


The boarded-up police station now sits at the border of CHAZ, casting perhaps the shadow of the near future without police.

CHAZ reclaimed police department renamed "People's Department"
Seattle People’s Dept, CHAZ. The pig is a nice touch.

A shrine to so many victims of police violence may be found facing the empty police station. One by one, individuals light a solemn candle, say a prayer.

Black lives matter memorial outside Capitol Hill East Precinct People's/Police department

Many folks seem a bit jumpy, shell shocked perhaps. Over the last two weeks, many of these folks have seen unprovoked police violence first hand.

The very existence of this space is a testament against racism and anti-blackness. Events here have included BLM rallies, anti-racist film screenings, and all sorts of one-on-one consciousness-raising conversations.

As this autonomous zone grows, so too does a new type of culture, a culture in which white people are taking on more of the work of dismantling their own privilege, while black voices are being centered, cherished.

Long Live CHAZ!

Long Live Free Capitol Hall!

May 10,000 anti-racist autonomous zones emerge!

Over 100 Photos of the Capitol Hill Autonomous Zone

These photos are licensed with a creative commons copyright license, so feel free to share them with attribution.

We’ve taken care to blur the faces of those whose identities are very clear, fortunately most were wearing masks. However, we didn’t blur the painers because they are sharing their identities publicly. If you see an identity we’ve overlooked, feel free to drop a comment and let us know. We wanted to get these up as soon as possible, so it’s possible I missed a few.

Videos coming soon!

What the Finished CHAZ Mural Looks Like

Found this drone footage of the mural they were working on as well.

An temporary autonomous zone is a terrific form of direct action.

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Dispatches from the Capitol Hill Autonomous Zone (and Free CHAZ Photos You Can Use)

by Subversas time to read: 2 min