The firebrand behind Seattle's CHAZ: Councilwoman and socialist Kshama Sawant, 46, who is refusing to let cops into the six-block zone lives in an $800,000 home but has railed against gentrification of Seattle

A software engineer turned firebrand socialist has been named as the leader of a movement which has pushed police out of six-block area of central Seattle, known as the Capitol Hill Autonomous Zone (CHAZ).  
Indian-born Kshama Sawant, 46, who now serves on the Seattle City Council, is encouraging activists in the CHAZ 'to hold out on giving back the precinct to cops or allowing officers inside the barricaded region', according to Fox News
The CHAZ was established on June 8, after protesters took over Capitol Hill's East Precinct building, sending members of the Seattle Police Department fleeing. 
Sawant tweeted Friday: 'Our movement needs to urgently ensure East Precinct is not handed back to police, but is turned over permanently into community control. My office is bringing legislation to convert East Precinct into a community center for restorative justice.'
She further stated: 'The movement has been undaunted in the face of horrific violence from Mayor Durkan's police. Congratulations, solidarity!'
Kshama Sawant, 46, who now serves on the Seattle City Council, is encouraging activists in the CHAZ 'to hold out on giving back the precinct to cops or allowing officers inside the barricaded region. She is pictured in the zone on June 8, when protesters took over Capitol Hill's East Precinct building, sending members of the Seattle Police Department fleeing
Kshama Sawant, 46, who now serves on the Seattle City Council, is encouraging activists in the CHAZ 'to hold out on giving back the precinct to cops or allowing officers inside the barricaded region. She is pictured in the zone on June 8, when protesters took over Capitol Hill's East Precinct building, sending members of the Seattle Police Department fleeing
Seattle Police Officers are blocked by protesters from entering the newly created CHAZ on Thursday. Sawant has urged activists not to yield to law enforcement
Seattle Police Officers are blocked by protesters from entering the newly created CHAZ on Thursday. Sawant has urged activists not to yield to law enforcement 
Sawant led a protest to City Hall on Tuesday where she reportedly unlocked the building and let 300 people stage an hours-long takeover of the building. Armed protesters are pictured during the march
Sawant led a protest to City Hall on Tuesday where she reportedly unlocked the building and let 300 people stage an hours-long takeover of the building. Armed protesters are pictured during the march
These six blocks in Seattle's Capitol Hill neighborhood are now police free after cops fled the precinct following a takeover by protesters
 These six blocks in Seattle's Capitol Hill neighborhood are now police free after cops fled the precinct following a takeover by protesters
On Tuesday, Sawant used her position as a councilwoman to lead hundreds of protesters into City Hall, where she reportedly unlocked the building and let 300 people stage an hours-long takeover of the building. 
The group called upon Mayor Durkan to resign. 
Sawant is known for her militant and uncomprising style of politics, prompting one Seattle Times columnist to liken her to the Queen in Alice in Wonderland. 
'She had has one answer to every question, and it is always some form of 'off with their heads'', the writer stated. 
In 2013, Sawant became the first socialist to be elected to the Seattle City Council. She describes herself as an 'an activist who brings a passion for social justice to her work as a public servant'. 
Sawant is known for her militant and uncomprising style of politics, prompting one Seattle Times columnist to liken her to the Queen in Alice in Wonderland
Sawant is known for her militant and uncomprising style of politics, prompting one Seattle Times columnist to liken her to the Queen in Alice in Wonderland
According to her official government biography, Sawant was born in Mumbai, India but relocated to the United States in the early 2000s after working as software engineer. 
'Upon arriving in the US, the richest country in the world, Sawant was surprised and radicalized by the inequality and poverty that exists here,' the biography reads. 
She pursued a PhD at North Carolina State University before relocating to Seattle. 

Sawant joined the Socialist Alternative in 2006 and became a councilwoman in 2013. She recently endorsed Bernie Sanders for President. 
The ex-software engineer also made headlines by vowing to give up a majority of her six-figure salary. 
She has boasted of only taking around $40,000 of her pay and 'donating the rest to building social justice movements.'
Sawant joined the Socialist Alternative in 2006 and became a councilwoman in 2013
Sawant joined the Socialist Alternative in 2006 and became a councilwoman in 2013
However, Sawant has not escaped criticism. 
Her reported marriage to a high-powered Microsoft engineer, Vivek Sawant, raised eyebrows given she railed against the gentrification of Seattle. The pair divorced in 2014. 
According to MyNorthwest, Sawant 'lives in a house that is worth between $800,000 and $900,000 and has over a half-million in equity' in the property. 
DailyMail.com has contacted Sawant's office for comment. 
Sawant has not escaped criticism. According to MyNorthwest, she was married to a Microsoft engineer and lives in an expensive Seattle home
Sawant has not escaped criticism. According to MyNorthwest, she was married to a Microsoft engineer and lives in an expensive Seattle home 
Sawant is seen on stage at a rally for Bernie Sanders. The self-described socialist endorsed the Vermont Senator for President
Sawant is seen on stage at a rally for Bernie Sanders. The self-described socialist endorsed the Vermont Senator for President 
The CHAZ has captured national attention, and split reaction across the country. 
Over the last few days, people inside the zone have likened the six-block zone to  peaceful street party where the protesters dine on vegan pizza, watch civil rights documentaries and listen to seminars and musical performances. 
However, photos of armed guards and checkpoints startled outsiders and drove President Trump to declare the area full of 'domestic terrorists' and 'ugly anarchists'. 
'These Liberal Dems don't have a clue. The terrorists burn and pillage our cities, and they think it is just wonderful, even the death. Must end this Seattle takeover now!' he demanded on Twitter.  
President Trump has declared the area full of 'domestic terrorists' and 'ugly anarchists'
President Trump has declared the area full of 'domestic terrorists' and 'ugly anarchists'
People walk past barricades inside the CHAZ on Friday
People walk past barricades inside the CHAZ on Friday 
A protester uses a scope on top of a barricade to look for police approaching the newly created CHAZ on Thursday
A protester uses a scope on top of a barricade to look for police approaching the newly created CHAZ on Thursday
Meanwhile, Seattle Police Chief Carmen Best disavowed the decision to abandon the East Precinct.  
Best posted a video message to officers Thursday in which she said the decision to leave the Capitol Hill precinct wasn't hers and she was angry about it. She also reiterated that police had been harassed and assaulted during protests.
'Ultimately, the city had other plans for the building and relented to severe public pressure,' Best said.
At a Thursday news conference neither Police Chief Best nor Mayor Durkan made it clear who decided that police should leave the precinct.
Best said at the press conference that police response times to priority calls of violent crimes in progress had tripled this week. Police sources say that responses to low-priority calls have been suspended.
'If that is your mother, your sister, your cousin, your neighbor's kid that is being raped, robbed assaulted (or) otherwise victimized you're not going to want to have to report that it took the police three times longer to get there to provide services to them,' Best said. 
Durkan said regarding Trump's statements about Seattle that one of the things the president will never understand is that listening to community is not a weakness, but a strength.
'A real leader would see nationwide protest, the grief in so many communities of color, particularly our black communities, and the call to be an anti-racist society, as an opportunity for America. An opportunity to build a better nation,' she said.
Protesters have said they want to see the precinct turned into a community center or used for purposes other than law enforcement. 
Seattle police chief blasts decision to abandon precinct
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Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan
Washington Governor Jay Inslee
Trump blasted Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan (left) and Washington Governor Jay Inslee (right), both Democrats, for allowing protesters to set up an 'autonomous zone' where police officers are banned
Sawant disputed accounts of violence or intimidation by protesters within the area on Capitol Hill and said it was more like a street fair with political discussions and a drum circle.
'The right wing has been spreading rumors that there is some sort of lawlessness and crime taking place at the Capitol Hill Autonomous Zone, but it is exactly the opposite of that,' said Sawant, a socialist and a critic of Durkan and the police.
Sawant said she wants the precinct to be 'converted into a public resource that will actually be helpful to society.'
The word "people" is spray painted over the word "police" on the closed Seattle Police Department's East Precinct now surrounded by the area known as the Capitol Hill Autonomous Zone (CHAZ), in Seattle on Thursday
The word 'people' is spray painted over the word 'police' on the closed Seattle Police Department's East Precinct now surrounded by the area known as the Capitol Hill Autonomous Zone (CHAZ), in Seattle on Thursday
The firebrand behind Seattle's CHAZ: Councilwoman and socialist Kshama Sawant, 46, who is refusing to let cops into the six-block zone lives in an $800,000 home but has railed against gentrification of Seattle The firebrand behind Seattle's CHAZ: Councilwoman and socialist Kshama Sawant, 46, who is refusing to let cops into the six-block zone lives in an $800,000 home but has railed against gentrification of Seattle Reviewed by STATION GOSSIP on 06:38 Rating: 5

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