Ongoing protests in Seattle have sparked a Twitter row between President Donald Trump, the city's mayor, Jenny Durkan, and Washington Gov. Jay Inslee, who are both Democrats.
Seattle Police Assistant Chief Deanna Nollette said they have received reports that a group of protesters set up barricades and "some armed individuals running them as checkpoints" in the city's East Precinct on Capitol Hill.
CNN affiliate KOMO reports that protesters have surrounded the area with barricades and are calling it the Capitol Hill Autonomous Zone. Police left the East Precinct building in the Capitol Hill neighborhood, boarded up, but unoccupied. Officers are only responding to emergency calls.
"While they have a constitutional right to bear arms, and while Washington is an open carry state, there is no legal right for those arms to be used to intimidate community members," Nollette said at a news conference Wednesday. "No one at these checkpoints has the legal authority to demand identification from anyone."
However, Nollette said "in an effort to try to collaborate and cooperate and move forward peacefully, we're trying to get a dialogue going."
"We're trying to figure out a way to resolve this without unduly impacting the citizens and businesses that are operating in that area," she said. "We don't want the important message about justice and improving policing relations and improving racial equity to get drowned out by this small faction of what's going on."
Who's organizing it?
That's unclear right now. Nollette said police are trying to figure out a point of contact in order to establish a dialogue.
Seattle officials say they have no indication that the occupied area is being coordinated by left-wing activist groups under the umbrella of Antifa, despite online rumors to the contrary.
“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 with the mayor’s office tells CNN.
What did Trump say?
Trump tweeted that "domestic terrorists have taken over Seattle," claiming they are "run by Radical Left Democrats." In another tweet, he said Mayor Durken and Gov. Inslee need to "take back" their city and that "these ugly Anarchists must be stooped (sic) IMMEDIATELY."
How did Durken and Inslee respond?
Durken responded by telling Trump to "go back to your bunker," a reference to when US Secret Service moved him to a secure, underground section of the White House during protests last month.
Inslee told him to "stoop tweeting"