Trader Joe's near Seattle 'autonomous' protest zone temporarily closed

Closure follows employees' participation in a Black Lives Matter protest, group of workers say

A Trader Joe's several blocks from the so-called autonomous protest zone in Seattle is closed temporarily, according to the store's webpage.

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The location closed early Friday, Capitol Hill Seattle Blog reported. Other grocery stores in the area are open, according to the blog.

A group of anonymous employees at the Trader Joe's Capitol Hill location claimed in a statement Sunday that the store closure was related to their participation in a Black Lives Matter protest.

WHAT'S GOING ON IN SEATTLE'S 'AUTONOMOUS ZONE' AND WHAT'S NEXT

According to the workers, management decided to close the store early Friday because of a lack of staffing and told employees the protest would be an excused absence. Corporate then decided to close the location "indefinitely" because they were "unsatisfied with the rationale for the early closure," the employees said.

"While Trader Joe's has publicly voiced support for 'Black crew members and customers,' the company has done nothing to tangibly support the movement for Black lives, and they have penalized employees for supporting the movement," the employees said.

FOX Business' inquiry to Trader Joe's was not returned at the time of publication.

'TAX AMAZON' BACK ON THE AGENDA IN SEATTLE

The fate of businesses in the zone remains unclear as protesters began occupying several city blocks in Seattle's Capitol Hill neighborhood last week. They declared the area, which includes an empty police precinct, a "cop-free zone." Protesters also released a list of demands that includes free college, rent control and police reform.

A cyclist rides near a sign that reads "You are now entering free Cap Hill," Thursday, June 11, 2020, inside what is being called the "Capitol Hill Autonomous Zone" in Seattle. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)

Seattle Police Chief Carmen Best told local station KIRO-7 on Friday she hopes to re-establish police presence at the precinct "as soon as possible."

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Not all business owners oppose the protesters' occupation.

"If it's remaining peaceful and it's sending a strong message to create some change, then I'm all for it," Seattle business owner James Snyder, who runs Sam's Tavern located in the autonomous zone, told FOX Business on Thursday.

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