The city of Seattle began tearing down barricades around the Capitol Hill Organized Protest Zone, or CHOP, on Tuesday, but protesters quickly jumped in to preserve the area free of police, according to local reports.
Teams from the city’s Department of Transportation began removing concrete barriers around 9:20 a.m. at the intersection of 10th and East Pine, just outside the block-block area occupied by protesters for approximately three weeks, the KIRO7 News television station.
Soon after, people moved to create makeshift obstacles from anything they could find, including trash cans, furniture and plywood signs, the station reported.
City officials previously said the barricades around the protest zone would fall on Sunday, but remained intact until Monday.
Currently, there are no immediate plans to remove the barriers that directly surround the Seattle Police East Precinct, Deputy Director Adrian Diaz told the station.
The compound was abandoned earlier this month after clashes and clashes with protesters calling for racial justice and an end to police brutality.
Police have remained out of the area since then, saying they would only respond during life-threatening emergencies.
Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan said last week that police would soon begin returning to the compound, but did not provide a timeline.
On Tuesday, Seattle Public Services also removed a handwash station next to Cal Anderson Park in the area, in an attempt to incentivize people who camped to leave.
Extension workers will be available in the area on Tuesday to help people find other places to stay, KIRO7 reported.
Steps to begin dismantling the protest zone came after a shooting there early Monday left a 16-year-old boy dead and a 14-year-old boy injured.
The violence occurred just over a week after a 19-year-old man was killed and a 33-year-old man was injured in another shooting in the area.
“Enough is enough,” Police Chief Carmen Best said Monday. “We need to be able to get back to the area.”