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Police converge on Seattle’s protest zone after mayor orders clearance

Two people have been killed and three others seriously injured since protests started on 8 June.

2.54379704 The protest zone in Seattle. Source: PA Images

SEATTLE POLICE CONVERGED on the city’s “occupied” protest zone after mayor Jenny Durkan issued an executive order for protesters to vacate the area.

People have occupied several blocks around a park and the Seattle Police Department’s East Precinct for about two weeks after police abandoned the building following standoffs and clashes with protesters calling for racial justice and an end to police brutality.

Police said today’s move is designed to protect the public.

Protesters in the Capitol Hill neighbourhood responded with chants and calls to leave them alone.

“Since demonstrations at the East Precinct area began on June 8, two teenagers have been killed and three people have been seriously wounded in late-night shootings,” Seattle police said on Twitter.

“Police have also documented robberies, assaults, and other violent crimes.

“Because suspects in recent shootings may still be in the area, and because numerous people in the area are in possession of firearms,” they said.

Officers will be equipped with additional protective gear as they attempt to clear the streets.

KUOW radio reported that by 5.30am local time (1.30pm Irish time), police had made at least 10 arrests.

2.54376455 A protester raises his fist as he wears a Guy Fawkes mask near the Seattle Police Department East Precinct building. Source: Ted S Warren/AP/PA Images

Cement barricades that remained in front of the Seattle Police Department East Precinct building yesterday were fortified by protesters with chunks of concrete and tarps.

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There have been increasing calls by critics, including US President Donald Trump, to remove protesters from the area following the fatal shooting on Monday of a 16-year-old boy and the 20 June killing of a 19-year-old man.

Protesters say they should not be blamed for the violence in the area.

People continued to add artwork, flowers and candles at a memorial for the 16-year-old yesterday.

Police chief Carmen Best has said the shootings are obscuring the message of racial justice promoted by protesters.

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