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Dirty Squatter

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Posts tagged resistance

Nov 16 '13
New squatting law starts to crumble - Keep squatting!
Section 144 of LASPO may prove unenforceable in practice
Resistance to s.144 of the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act (LASPO) 2012 that outlaws squatting in residential buildings is growing. Ultimately, the law may prove unworkable and unenforceable. There have been a number of successful prosecutions under the new law, including the widely publicised conviction and imprisonment of 21 year old Alex Haigh who came to London looking for work and stayed in an unoccupied housing association flat. He pleaded guilty, but it has since become clear that where a not guilty plea is entered by defendant, it may be difficult if not impossible for the prosecution to prove the charge. After some notable acquittals, we have a better idea about the obstacles facing hapless prosecutors and some of the ways in which well-informed residential squatters might go about successfully defending themselves in court.
Background to s.144
Section 144 of the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act (LASPO) became law on September 1, 2012. In brief, it is now a criminal offence if a person is inside a residential building as a trespasser and living or intending to live there. Yet “living” is hard to prove, as the cases below demonstrate. Just as activist groups such as SQUASH were warning all along, the new law is now falling apart under legal scrutiny. This is fantastic; it should not be a crime to occupy unused or derelict space.
Some early prosecutions ended in conviction
Unfortunately, there have already been successful prosecutions and at least two people have been sent to prison. It is hard to track figures countrywide, but Alex Haigh is regarded to have been the first person to be convicted, after being arrested in a squat in Pimlico, London. He was sentenced to 12 weeks in jail. Henry from Bristol was also an early casualty of the new law.
A homeless Polish man was accosted by police who broke into a derelict house to tell him to leave. When he went back to sleep instead, they came back and arrested him.
Despite pubs specifically being excluded from section 144 in the Government’s own guidance, two people were convicted in Romford last year of squatting a flat in a pub, although it is unclear whether they actually served time in the end.
There are no doubt other cases elsewhere, which groups such as the Squatters Legal Network are trying hard to follow.
Also for example, there was the case of the Spanish squatters in London who changed their plea from not guilty to guilty (they didn’t get prison sentences, but it seems they received bad legal advice).
Of course, the new law is also being used a lot by police to intimidate people into leaving squats and it seems quite common for people to be arrested and not charged (by which time their house has been boarded up again). However, section 144 is now being challenged by people who are refusing to plead guilty…
Brighton Three go free
In Brighton, three squatters were arrested in a raid two days after the law changed. In what was seen as a test case for the police, they were charged with the new offence of squatting, as well as obstruction and abstraction (of electricity). Two squatters had all charges dropped, the other was convicted on the word of a copper. On appeal in October 2013, this conviction was also thrown out, since the Judge and two magistrates agreed that there was absolutely no proof that the squatters were actually living there. There is some analysis of the court case here.
The judge refused to comment on the second defence argument, namely that the building, despite being defined as residential by both the property management company and the police, had actually never been converted to residential.
Acquittal in Moelfre case
Tristan Dixon was accused of squatting a derelict house in Moelfre, Powys where he had planned to cultivate the abandoned land rather than reside. He was convicted under section 144 at Welshpool magistrates court with the help of a crap solicitor and subsequently appealed the conviction. Having filed a motion to have the initial charges quashed, he was then informed that the CPS would not be contesting the appeal, but Tristan wanted the case to be heard so that the legal issues could be aired in court and properly considered. At Mold Crown Court on 6 November, Judge Rowlands threatened Tristan with the possibility of exorbitant legal costs if he insisted on the case going ahead, so in the end he settled for an acquittal. A protest against homelessness and in support of squatting was held outside the Crown and County Court building where at least ten repossession cases were being heard that day.
Some of the issues over the original conviction were that the charge was ill-founded, failing to address knowledge of trespassing and charging Tristan with ‘living’ or ‘intending to live’ in the property without specifying any period of time, as well as conflating these two alleged offences (‘living’ and ‘intending to live’) into one, creating what was in effect an uncertain charge.
Southwark Protest Squat
The occupation of two Council houses in Southwark to prevent their sell-off for profit justifiably gathered a lot of media attention. But it also highlighted another way to attack s.144, which is to squat something as a protest rather than for living. This seems to have gone very well in this case so far, with the police not threatening to evict, despite the houses clearly being residential.
See also Housing Action Southwark & Lambeth.
As the squatters say,

"we hope that our protest shows that the law to criminalise squatting in residential buildings (section 144) should not apply to protest occupations such as ours and that empty residential buildings should still be used for such acts."

Mike Weatherley is a coward case
As an amusing sidenote, the trial of the person charged under Section 4a of the Public Order Act (for calling Mike Weatherley a coward!) continued on November 11 at Brighton Magistrates Court. Weatherley and his cronies appear to want to scapegoat someone as revenge for getting chased off the University of Sussex campus by a large group of people last year.
Whilst they appear to be building a case of affray, the Crown must prove that the defendant caused alarm, distress or harassment to Weatherley and it seems unlikely they will be able to. At the hearing on 11 November, a submission to dismiss the case was made, but this was refused by the Judge and the case will continue on 12 November. Follow @housingwar on twitter for updates.
Practical advice for squatters
So it seems clear that people arrested under s.144 should not talk to the police except to give a no comment interview and should not plead guilty to the offence. The examples mentioned above show that it is difficult to prove that a squatter is “living or intending to live” in a squat without a major surveillance operation. This already makes the law unenforceable. Add to that arguments about the squat being a protest rather than residential, or perhaps a dispute over whether the specific building in question is even legally adapted as residential, and it seems clear that s.144 is unworkable in practice. On top of that, the huge expense that the police will have to go to, with forensic analysis of food and mattresses, door-to-door interviews with neighbours and observation of the squat, makes the law unaffordable! The “crime” of squatting residential buildings will continue!
On the newswire: Brighton acquittals 1 | Brighton acquittals 2 | Moelfre acquittal | Squatting as protest in Southwark | Mike Weatherley is a coward case | Alex Haigh conviction | Henry: Bristol’s first victim of squatting criminalisationOther links: Squatters Legal Network | Advisory Service for Squatters | Rooftop Resistance | SQUASH

New squatting law starts to crumble - Keep squatting!

Section 144 of LASPO may prove unenforceable in practice

Resistance to s.144 of the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act (LASPO) 2012 that outlaws squatting in residential buildings is growing. Ultimately, the law may prove unworkable and unenforceable. There have been a number of successful prosecutions under the new law, including the widely publicised conviction and imprisonment of 21 year old Alex Haigh who came to London looking for work and stayed in an unoccupied housing association flat. He pleaded guilty, but it has since become clear that where a not guilty plea is entered by defendant, it may be difficult if not impossible for the prosecution to prove the charge. After some notable acquittals, we have a better idea about the obstacles facing hapless prosecutors and some of the ways in which well-informed residential squatters might go about successfully defending themselves in court.

Background to s.144

Section 144 of the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act (LASPO) became law on September 1, 2012. In brief, it is now a criminal offence if a person is inside a residential building as a trespasser and living or intending to live there. Yet “living” is hard to prove, as the cases below demonstrate. Just as activist groups such as SQUASH were warning all along, the new law is now falling apart under legal scrutiny. This is fantastic; it should not be a crime to occupy unused or derelict space.


Some early prosecutions ended in conviction

Unfortunately, there have already been successful prosecutions and at least two people have been sent to prison. It is hard to track figures countrywide, but Alex Haigh is regarded to have been the first person to be convicted, after being arrested in a squat in Pimlico, London. He was sentenced to 12 weeks in jail. Henry from Bristol was also an early casualty of the new law.

A homeless Polish man was accosted by police who broke into a derelict house to tell him to leave. When he went back to sleep instead, they came back and arrested him.

Despite pubs specifically being excluded from section 144 in the Government’s own guidance, two people were convicted in Romford last year of squatting a flat in a pub, although it is unclear whether they actually served time in the end.

There are no doubt other cases elsewhere, which groups such as the Squatters Legal Network are trying hard to follow.

Also for example, there was the case of the Spanish squatters in London who changed their plea from not guilty to guilty (they didn’t get prison sentences, but it seems they received bad legal advice).

Of course, the new law is also being used a lot by police to intimidate people into leaving squats and it seems quite common for people to be arrested and not charged (by which time their house has been boarded up again). However, section 144 is now being challenged by people who are refusing to plead guilty…

Brighton Three go free

In Brighton, three squatters were arrested in a raid two days after the law changed. In what was seen as a test case for the police, they were charged with the new offence of squatting, as well as obstruction and abstraction (of electricity). Two squatters had all charges dropped, the other was convicted on the word of a copper. On appeal in October 2013, this conviction was also thrown out, since the Judge and two magistrates agreed that there was absolutely no proof that the squatters were actually living there. There is some analysis of the court case here.

The judge refused to comment on the second defence argument, namely that the building, despite being defined as residential by both the property management company and the police, had actually never been converted to residential.

Acquittal in Moelfre case

Tristan Dixon was accused of squatting a derelict house in Moelfre, Powys where he had planned to cultivate the abandoned land rather than reside. He was convicted under section 144 at Welshpool magistrates court with the help of a crap solicitor and subsequently appealed the conviction. Having filed a motion to have the initial charges quashed, he was then informed that the CPS would not be contesting the appeal, but Tristan wanted the case to be heard so that the legal issues could be aired in court and properly considered. At Mold Crown Court on 6 November, Judge Rowlands threatened Tristan with the possibility of exorbitant legal costs if he insisted on the case going ahead, so in the end he settled for an acquittal. A protest against homelessness and in support of squatting was held outside the Crown and County Court building where at least ten repossession cases were being heard that day.

Some of the issues over the original conviction were that the charge was ill-founded, failing to address knowledge of trespassing and charging Tristan with ‘living’ or ‘intending to live’ in the property without specifying any period of time, as well as conflating these two alleged offences (‘living’ and ‘intending to live’) into one, creating what was in effect an uncertain charge.

Southwark Protest Squat

The occupation of two Council houses in Southwark to prevent their sell-off for profit justifiably gathered a lot of media attention. But it also highlighted another way to attack s.144, which is to squat something as a protest rather than for living. This seems to have gone very well in this case so far, with the police not threatening to evict, despite the houses clearly being residential.

See also Housing Action Southwark & Lambeth.

As the squatters say,

"we hope that our protest shows that the law to criminalise squatting in residential buildings (section 144) should not apply to protest occupations such as ours and that empty residential buildings should still be used for such acts."


Mike Weatherley is a coward case

As an amusing sidenote, the trial of the person charged under Section 4a of the Public Order Act (for calling Mike Weatherley a coward!) continued on November 11 at Brighton Magistrates Court. Weatherley and his cronies appear to want to scapegoat someone as revenge for getting chased off the University of Sussex campus by a large group of people last year.

Whilst they appear to be building a case of affray, the Crown must prove that the defendant caused alarm, distress or harassment to Weatherley and it seems unlikely they will be able to. At the hearing on 11 November, a submission to dismiss the case was made, but this was refused by the Judge and the case will continue on 12 November. Follow @housingwar on twitter for updates.

Practical advice for squatters

So it seems clear that people arrested under s.144 should not talk to the police except to give a no comment interview and should not plead guilty to the offence. The examples mentioned above show that it is difficult to prove that a squatter is “living or intending to live” in a squat without a major surveillance operation. This already makes the law unenforceable. Add to that arguments about the squat being a protest rather than residential, or perhaps a dispute over whether the specific building in question is even legally adapted as residential, and it seems clear that s.144 is unworkable in practice. On top of that, the huge expense that the police will have to go to, with forensic analysis of food and mattresses, door-to-door interviews with neighbours and observation of the squat, makes the law unaffordable! The “crime” of squatting residential buildings will continue!

On the newswire: Brighton acquittals 1 | Brighton acquittals 2 | Moelfre acquittal | Squatting as protest in Southwark | Mike Weatherley is a coward case | Alex Haigh conviction | Henry: Bristol’s first victim of squatting criminalisation
Other links: Squatters Legal Network | Advisory Service for Squatters | Rooftop Resistance | SQUASH

Sep 28 '13
Sep 24 '13
"Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results."

Albert Einstein

Protest movements please take note.

Apr 24 '13

Indigenous Town in Mexico Celebrates Two Years of Autonomy and Defense of their Community Forest

Feb 2 '13
Rural Rebels and Usless Airports [part 2]
Preface:

This update should have been posted weeks ago. But the turn of events meant that we had little time to sit, write and reflect. Words may well be weapons, but in the heat of struggle bodies speak louder than words.

Saturday, November 17th – Day of Reoccupation.
A yellow forklift truck leads the way; walking close behind is a block of Zadists carrying a fortified banner declaring: No to the airport and its world.  Behind them 20 tractors pull huge agricultural trailers filled with building materials: piles of pallets, straw bales, tyres, doors, windows, prefabricated wooden walls, hundreds of planks, corrugated iron roofing, tools – pretty much anything you can think of, including kitchen sinks.
We sit on top of one of the trailers. The affinity group from our local village has decided to build one of the constructions for today’s reoccupation action – we have named it the Black Bloc Sanitaire – it’s a shower block and bank of compost loos. The pile of building materials that we sit on is much more messy than the trailer behind us which carries the wood for a group of young architects. The architects have a super neat stack of carefully numbered pallets and the rumour is that they have already practiced setting up their dormitory building in the main hall of the Nantes school of architecture. Our construction doesn’t even have plans that are to scale, but we are hoping that the collective energy of the day and a dose of spontaneity will see something rise from the pile of rubbish we are sitting on. This is the opportunity of a life time for anyone who has ever dreamt of building their own cabin, rebel palace or fortress: A free plot of land, no planning permissions or building regulations and hundreds of people keen to help build.
None of us know where we are heading, the location has been kept a secret. From high up we see the river of human being flowing behind us, snaking through the country lanes as far as the eye can see. As always, we have Radio Klaxon on in the background, they have just announced that the mainstream media think that there are 40,000 people are on the action and over 400 tractors! We are all here on an illegal demonstration whose aim is to build a rebel settlement together on the land earmarked for the airport (see part 1). Last night the president interrupted a state visit of Poland to make a statement about the protest, reminding the French public of the “power of the law.”
A year ago, when I first saw the flyer for this action, with its floating date to reoccupy 4 weeks after the first eviction, I thought it was a great idea but that it would be a handful of tired traumatised post eviction activists symbolically rebuilding a couple of huts. Little did I imagine I would be taking part in one of the largest act of mass disobedience I’ve ever experienced and that we would have enough material to build a hamlet. The fact that there is not a single police officer in sight, however, not even a helicopter watching above, is strangely disconcerting.
Click link for full article and photos
[part 1]

Rural Rebels and Usless Airports [part 2]

Preface:

This update should have been posted weeks ago. But the turn of events meant that we had little time to sit, write and reflect. Words may well be weapons, but in the heat of struggle bodies speak louder than words.

Saturday, November 17th – Day of Reoccupation.

A yellow forklift truck leads the way; walking close behind is a block of Zadists carrying a fortified banner declaring: No to the airport and its world.  Behind them 20 tractors pull huge agricultural trailers filled with building materials: piles of pallets, straw bales, tyres, doors, windows, prefabricated wooden walls, hundreds of planks, corrugated iron roofing, tools – pretty much anything you can think of, including kitchen sinks.

We sit on top of one of the trailers. The affinity group from our local village has decided to build one of the constructions for today’s reoccupation action – we have named it the Black Bloc Sanitaire – it’s a shower block and bank of compost loos. The pile of building materials that we sit on is much more messy than the trailer behind us which carries the wood for a group of young architects. The architects have a super neat stack of carefully numbered pallets and the rumour is that they have already practiced setting up their dormitory building in the main hall of the Nantes school of architecture. Our construction doesn’t even have plans that are to scale, but we are hoping that the collective energy of the day and a dose of spontaneity will see something rise from the pile of rubbish we are sitting on. This is the opportunity of a life time for anyone who has ever dreamt of building their own cabin, rebel palace or fortress: A free plot of land, no planning permissions or building regulations and hundreds of people keen to help build.

None of us know where we are heading, the location has been kept a secret. From high up we see the river of human being flowing behind us, snaking through the country lanes as far as the eye can see. As always, we have Radio Klaxon on in the background, they have just announced that the mainstream media think that there are 40,000 people are on the action and over 400 tractors! We are all here on an illegal demonstration whose aim is to build a rebel settlement together on the land earmarked for the airport (see part 1). Last night the president interrupted a state visit of Poland to make a statement about the protest, reminding the French public of the “power of the law.”

A year ago, when I first saw the flyer for this action, with its floating date to reoccupy 4 weeks after the first eviction, I thought it was a great idea but that it would be a handful of tired traumatised post eviction activists symbolically rebuilding a couple of huts. Little did I imagine I would be taking part in one of the largest act of mass disobedience I’ve ever experienced and that we would have enough material to build a hamlet. The fact that there is not a single police officer in sight, however, not even a helicopter watching above, is strangely disconcerting.

Click link for full article and photos

[part 1]

Jan 12 '13



Battle for the squats in Athens
The battle against the eviction of squats in Greece heats up as more occupations are attacked and dozens arrested.



There now seems little doubt that the Greek state is carrying out a sizeable and sustained assault on squats and the anarchists movement in general. In the last weeks as well as Villa Amalias, two other squats in central Athens have been attacked by police forces. This may just be the beginning of a bigger operation. A leaked report suggests that the Greek police are planning to attack 40 squats around the country. After the events of the last few days there also seems little doubt that should the police carry out this plan they will have to fight for every single building.
The eviction of one of the oldest squats in Athens, Villa Amalias, on 20th December was the first strike. Soon after came a raid against another occupied building known as ASOEE. Next after the attempt to reoccupy Villa Amalias on the 9th January the police targeted the Skaramanga squat. A leaked police plan reported on mainstream Greek media suggests that the next stage of this assault would target up to 40 occupied buildings across Greece. The raid on Skaramanga was probably planned for a later date but brought forward as a retaliation for the reoccupation of Villa Amalias. Rather than isolated raids the events of the last week would seem to be part of a strategy of repression aimed directly against the anarchist movement in Greece.
Throughout the years of social unrest unleashed by continuous rounds of harsh austerity measures ideas and actions of resistance have been increasing in Greece. Over the last months there has been a marked increase in repressive tactics against any section of society which could offer resistance. Workers on strike have been attacked, journalists reporting corruption have been arrested, anti-migrant sweeps have led to 60,000 detentions, and new weapons such as water cannon have been deployed. These latest attacks show the squats to be the next target for state repression.
In the face of this attack people have not been passive and have jumped to defend the squats and their communities. The most dramatic and powerful day so far was certainly the 9th January. Early in the morning there was a daring attempt to reoccupy Villa Amalias. Dozens of people managed to get back inside the building despite a police presence. Soon however substantial police reinforcements were brought up and the building invaded again. This led to the detention of around 100 people who were taken away to the police headquarters shouting the traditional slogan ‘the passion for freedom is stronger than the prisons’. In a statement released by the arrested they demonstrate clearly their determination not to give up in the face of repression:

”We re-occupied the guarded Villa Amalias knowing that we will be attacked and obviously that we would be arrested. We will do it again, as many times as it takes, for this and for any other social space of resistance of those from below that might come under attack. We say it once again, tirelessly: neither their weapons, nor their slandering can scare us. ”

As soon as news spread about the occupation and the police attack more actions took place around the city. The offices of the governmental party DIMAR were briefly occupied in solidarity until it too was attacked leading to another 40 detentions. Protests then moved around the centre of Athens with police forces using tear gas to remove people from the finance ministry building. It was about this time that the Skarmanga squat was raided with another eight people being detained. Throughout the day there were protests, gatherings and assemblies in active support of the squats and those detained. By the end of the night police forces had invaded the neighbourhood of Exarchia which is regarded as something of an autonomous space.
The total number of detentions came to around 150 which would mean this is the single biggest number of anarchists arrested in one day for 15 years. Many of these face charges including 92 from Villa Amalias who at the time of writing are still being held at the police headquarters.
So it seems we have entered a new dangerous phase in Greece. The state has selected its next target and people are left wondering who will be attacked next. Instead of fear however people have reacted boldly and the bonds of solidarity are going stronger. The events of 9th January show that people aren’t bowing down they are resisting repression together. The original raid on Villa Amalias took place three weeks ago and yet the battle still continues. The community of the Villa has not been crushed. In light of this the police plan to attack dozens more squats suddenly seems very ambitious as they will have to fight for every single one. In the words of the arrested:

'Against the hurricane of repression, let’s pit the storm of solidarity!'

Battle for the squats in Athens

The battle against the eviction of squats in Greece heats up as more occupations are attacked and dozens arrested.

There now seems little doubt that the Greek state is carrying out a sizeable and sustained assault on squats and the anarchists movement in general. In the last weeks as well as Villa Amalias, two other squats in central Athens have been attacked by police forces. This may just be the beginning of a bigger operation. A leaked report suggests that the Greek police are planning to attack 40 squats around the country. After the events of the last few days there also seems little doubt that should the police carry out this plan they will have to fight for every single building.

The eviction of one of the oldest squats in Athens, Villa Amalias, on 20th December was the first strike. Soon after came a raid against another occupied building known as ASOEE. Next after the attempt to reoccupy Villa Amalias on the 9th January the police targeted the Skaramanga squat. A leaked police plan reported on mainstream Greek media suggests that the next stage of this assault would target up to 40 occupied buildings across Greece. The raid on Skaramanga was probably planned for a later date but brought forward as a retaliation for the reoccupation of Villa Amalias. Rather than isolated raids the events of the last week would seem to be part of a strategy of repression aimed directly against the anarchist movement in Greece.

Throughout the years of social unrest unleashed by continuous rounds of harsh austerity measures ideas and actions of resistance have been increasing in Greece. Over the last months there has been a marked increase in repressive tactics against any section of society which could offer resistance. Workers on strike have been attacked, journalists reporting corruption have been arrested, anti-migrant sweeps have led to 60,000 detentions, and new weapons such as water cannon have been deployed. These latest attacks show the squats to be the next target for state repression.

In the face of this attack people have not been passive and have jumped to defend the squats and their communities. The most dramatic and powerful day so far was certainly the 9th January. Early in the morning there was a daring attempt to reoccupy Villa Amalias. Dozens of people managed to get back inside the building despite a police presence. Soon however substantial police reinforcements were brought up and the building invaded again. This led to the detention of around 100 people who were taken away to the police headquarters shouting the traditional slogan ‘the passion for freedom is stronger than the prisons’. In a statement released by the arrested they demonstrate clearly their determination not to give up in the face of repression:

”We re-occupied the guarded Villa Amalias knowing that we will be attacked and obviously that we would be arrested. We will do it again, as many times as it takes, for this and for any other social space of resistance of those from below that might come under attack. We say it once again, tirelessly: neither their weapons, nor their slandering can scare us. ”

As soon as news spread about the occupation and the police attack more actions took place around the city. The offices of the governmental party DIMAR were briefly occupied in solidarity until it too was attacked leading to another 40 detentions. Protests then moved around the centre of Athens with police forces using tear gas to remove people from the finance ministry building. It was about this time that the Skarmanga squat was raided with another eight people being detained. Throughout the day there were protests, gatherings and assemblies in active support of the squats and those detained. By the end of the night police forces had invaded the neighbourhood of Exarchia which is regarded as something of an autonomous space.

The total number of detentions came to around 150 which would mean this is the single biggest number of anarchists arrested in one day for 15 years. Many of these face charges including 92 from Villa Amalias who at the time of writing are still being held at the police headquarters.

So it seems we have entered a new dangerous phase in Greece. The state has selected its next target and people are left wondering who will be attacked next. Instead of fear however people have reacted boldly and the bonds of solidarity are going stronger. The events of 9th January show that people aren’t bowing down they are resisting repression together. The original raid on Villa Amalias took place three weeks ago and yet the battle still continues. The community of the Villa has not been crushed. In light of this the police plan to attack dozens more squats suddenly seems very ambitious as they will have to fight for every single one. In the words of the arrested:

'Against the hurricane of repression, let’s pit the storm of solidarity!'
Jan 9 '13
Villa Amalias re-squatted and re-evicted; largest number of anarchists detained in a single day in 15 years; updates
At approximately 07:30 on January 9, dozens of people re-squatted Villa Amalias this morning, hanging a banner writing: “Squat for Ever – Villa Amalias”. Almost immediately, riot police that encircled the building threw tear gas inside. At approximately 09:20, the police’s special forces (EKAM) smashed the building’s windows and raided it anew, detaining 101 people who was inside.
Meanwhile – at approximately the same time – around 40 anarchists in solidarity occupied the HQ of DIMAR (Democratic Left Party),  which participates in the governmental coalition. Police raided this building as well, detaining the occupiers.
UPDATE, 19.20 pm At least 1,500 people have gathered outside the Police HQ in solidarity with those arrested throughout the day.
UPDATE, 17.55 pm Earlier on, anarchists held a spontaneous demo outside the Ministry of Finance as PM Samaras held a press conference inside, in response to the Villa Amalias raid.
UPDATE, 17.50 pm More than 1,000 people inside the Polytechnic for tonight’s assembly. Meanwhile, a police water cannon has been spotted outside the police HQ on Alexandras avenue. The other two central universities in Athens, the School of Economics and the Law school, have been shut following orders by their administrations.
UPDATE, 17.35 pm The 40 anarchists detained earlier on inside the Democratic Left party HQ have all been released.
UPDATE, 17.15 pm News from inside the Polytechnic: the assembly location has changed, from Gini to the Max auditorium. Outside, riot police squads are stationed on most side streets off Stournari street and around the entire campus.
UPDATE 17.05 pm Photos and videos from today’s events.
UPDATE, 16.56 pm Short announcement by the collective of Skaramaga squat about today’s raid
UPDATE, 16.20 pm Solidarity actions and gatherings across Greece for Villa Amalias and Skaramanga
UPDATE, 16.00 pm Villa Amalias statement regarding today’s re-occupation and re-eviction
UPDATE, 15.50 pm Update on the arrested in Villa Amalias, the Democratic Left HQ and Skaramanga
UPDATE, 15.40 pm Video from inside Villa Amalias during its attempted re-occupation earlier on today.
UPDATE, 15.25 pm. Police have just raided the Skaramanga squat in Athens.
UPDATE, 11.45 am. If the numbers of detentions are confirmed (101 in Villa Amalias and 40 at the Democratic Left) this would mean today’s police operation will have seen the biggest number of anarchists detained at least since the 1998 Polytechnic riots.

Villa Amalias re-squatted and re-evicted; largest number of anarchists detained in a single day in 15 years; updates

At approximately 07:30 on January 9, dozens of people re-squatted Villa Amalias this morning, hanging a banner writing: “Squat for Ever – Villa Amalias”. Almost immediately, riot police that encircled the building threw tear gas inside. At approximately 09:20, the police’s special forces (EKAM) smashed the building’s windows and raided it anew, detaining 101 people who was inside.

Meanwhile – at approximately the same time – around 40 anarchists in solidarity occupied the HQ of DIMAR (Democratic Left Party),  which participates in the governmental coalition. Police raided this building as well, detaining the occupiers.

UPDATE, 19.20 pm At least 1,500 people have gathered outside the Police HQ in solidarity with those arrested throughout the day.

UPDATE, 17.55 pm Earlier on, anarchists held a spontaneous demo outside the Ministry of Finance as PM Samaras held a press conference inside, in response to the Villa Amalias raid.

UPDATE, 17.50 pm More than 1,000 people inside the Polytechnic for tonight’s assembly. Meanwhile, a police water cannon has been spotted outside the police HQ on Alexandras avenue. The other two central universities in Athens, the School of Economics and the Law school, have been shut following orders by their administrations.

UPDATE, 17.35 pm The 40 anarchists detained earlier on inside the Democratic Left party HQ have all been released.

UPDATE, 17.15 pm News from inside the Polytechnic: the assembly location has changed, from Gini to the Max auditorium. Outside, riot police squads are stationed on most side streets off Stournari street and around the entire campus.

UPDATE 17.05 pm Photos and videos from today’s events.

UPDATE, 16.56 pm Short announcement by the collective of Skaramaga squat about today’s raid

UPDATE, 16.20 pm Solidarity actions and gatherings across Greece for Villa Amalias and Skaramanga

UPDATE, 16.00 pm Villa Amalias statement regarding today’s re-occupation and re-eviction

UPDATE, 15.50 pm Update on the arrested in Villa Amalias, the Democratic Left HQ and Skaramanga

UPDATE, 15.40 pm Video from inside Villa Amalias during its attempted re-occupation earlier on today.

UPDATE, 15.25 pm. Police have just raided the Skaramanga squat in Athens.

UPDATE, 11.45 am. If the numbers of detentions are confirmed (101 in Villa Amalias and 40 at the Democratic Left) this would mean today’s police operation will have seen the biggest number of anarchists detained at least since the 1998 Polytechnic riots.

Jan 7 '13
Bexhill Street Blues
Contractors back at work at Combe Haven
As predicted contractors were back at work today on the Bexhill-Hastings Link Rd being built smack through the middle of tranquil Combe Haven. Despite the fact that the funding for the road isn’t yet in place East Sussex County Council seem determined to fell all the trees along the route. But now activists are better prepared and this morning (Monday 7th) issued forth from their makeshift tree camps and managed to significantly disrupt work.
SchNEWS spoke to one of them “We were up and ready for them at six this morning, before it got light. They were trying to cut trees to the north of the second camp. There are three big oaks there that they clearly wanted to fell but we pushed through the lines of security and got people into the trees”
Contractors had brought a JCB onto site, which acted as a target for digger-diving all day. According to SchNEWS’ correspondent off the ground “We obviously stopped a lot of what they were planning to do. They were mostly just brush-cutting all day. We were with them until it got dark. I’m not entirely sure what they brought a digger along for but they didn’t really get to use it”
There were around twenty police to bolster the forty-odd security guards and two arrests were made. By the time of writing they hadn’t been released. Earlier in the week police had pressed for one woman to be bailed away from site entirely. In her case magistrates refused as the cops hadn’t attached any conditions to her bail when she was first nicked but any future arrestees are likely to face the same draconian conditions – a tactic familiar from the nineties (Anyone remember the Newbury Sausage? - thought not )
Right now the campaign against the bypass is gathering pace – there are now a good number of tree-houses and platforms up and not a few folk on site. But more are always needed.
To find out more http://combehavendefenders.wordpress.com/

Bexhill Street Blues

Contractors back at work at Combe Haven

As predicted contractors were back at work today on the Bexhill-Hastings Link Rd being built smack through the middle of tranquil Combe Haven. Despite the fact that the funding for the road isn’t yet in place East Sussex County Council seem determined to fell all the trees along the route. But now activists are better prepared and this morning (Monday 7th) issued forth from their makeshift tree camps and managed to significantly disrupt work.

SchNEWS spoke to one of them “We were up and ready for them at six this morning, before it got light. They were trying to cut trees to the north of the second camp. There are three big oaks there that they clearly wanted to fell but we pushed through the lines of security and got people into the trees”

Contractors had brought a JCB onto site, which acted as a target for digger-diving all day. According to SchNEWS’ correspondent off the ground “We obviously stopped a lot of what they were planning to do. They were mostly just brush-cutting all day. We were with them until it got dark. I’m not entirely sure what they brought a digger along for but they didn’t really get to use it”

There were around twenty police to bolster the forty-odd security guards and two arrests were made. By the time of writing they hadn’t been released. Earlier in the week police had pressed for one woman to be bailed away from site entirely. In her case magistrates refused as the cops hadn’t attached any conditions to her bail when she was first nicked but any future arrestees are likely to face the same draconian conditions – a tactic familiar from the nineties (Anyone remember the Newbury Sausage? - thought not )

Right now the campaign against the bypass is gathering pace – there are now a good number of tree-houses and platforms up and not a few folk on site. But more are always needed.

To find out more http://combehavendefenders.wordpress.com/

Jan 2 '13



Kenyan police murder four squatters during eviction
Four people have been killed and ten others seriously injured when police opened fire on squatters protesting about being evicted from the 1200 acre Twiga Estate farm in Kenya, which they have lived on since 1952.



152 families (4,000 people) have been living on the farm since 1952, but claim they have owned the land since 1965 when itwas given to them by a white settler. They built homes and schools, and farmed the land for over 60 years.
Ownership of the land has since been disputed by a company called Mbo-Kamuiti who finally won the dispute in court, and subsequently issued those living on the land with an eviction notice. Despite over 100 officers armed with guns descending on the farm, the occupiers managed to repel the attack with bows and arrows, and stones.
The police have reported that four of their officers have been injured by arrows, including the chief of police who was shot in the arm pit.
A police spokesman has said that:

“On reaching a bridge next to the farm, the youths started pelting police officers with stones and throwing arrows at them. They were so violent that the officers were left with no alternative but to open fire in self-defence”

One of the occupiers reports that:

“The police were shooting at us using live bullets and I was hit in the leg as we scampered for safety”

.Despite claims that an eviction notice had been served, the occupiers claim that they have never received any such notice, and that the police sneaked onto the land in attempt to force them out at 4.30am. 
The courts have re-iterated their decision to evict and have instructed the police to see through the eviction.

Kenyan police murder four squatters during eviction

Four people have been killed and ten others seriously injured when police opened fire on squatters protesting about being evicted from the 1200 acre Twiga Estate farm in Kenya, which they have lived on since 1952.

152 families (4,000 people) have been living on the farm since 1952, but claim they have owned the land since 1965 when itwas given to them by a white settler. They built homes and schools, and farmed the land for over 60 years.

Ownership of the land has since been disputed by a company called Mbo-Kamuiti who finally won the dispute in court, and subsequently issued those living on the land with an eviction notice. Despite over 100 officers armed with guns descending on the farm, the occupiers managed to repel the attack with bows and arrows, and stones.

The police have reported that four of their officers have been injured by arrows, including the chief of police who was shot in the arm pit.

A police spokesman has said that:

“On reaching a bridge next to the farm, the youths started pelting police officers with stones and throwing arrows at them. They were so violent that the officers were left with no alternative but to open fire in self-defence”

One of the occupiers reports that:

“The police were shooting at us using live bullets and I was hit in the leg as we scampered for safety”

.Despite claims that an eviction notice had been served, the occupiers claim that they have never received any such notice, and that the police sneaked onto the land in attempt to force them out at 4.30am.

The courts have re-iterated their decision to evict and have instructed the police to see through the eviction.

Dec 22 '12
Argentina looting spreads to Buenos Aires province
Argentine police have clashed with hundreds of people trying to loot a supermarket near Buenos Aires.

The incident took place in broad day light outside a Carrefour supermarket in San Fernando, in the outskirts of the capital.

Riot police used tear gas and managed to stop the attack. But in other parts of the country, supermarkets and shops have been looted.

The government says trade unions linked to the opposition are to blame.

"This has been orchestrated. Someone has started all this to create an atmosphere of fear," said San Fernando mayor Luis Andreotti.

Argentine television showed images of people - many of them with their faces covered - throwing stones at the police and trying to break into shops and supermarkets.

The first looting incidents happened on Thursday in the southern resort city of Bariloche.

At least three supermarkets were looted there by more than 100 people, who left with electronics, toys, clothes and food.

Following a request from the provincial governor, the central government sent some 400 federal troops to Bariloche, in Santa Fe province.
 Plasma TVs 

Other attacks were registered overnight in the industrial cities of Campana and Zarate, in Buenos Aires province; Resistencia, in the north; and in Argentina’s third city, Rosario.

Two people were killed in Rosario as security guards tried to stop the looting.

At least 117 people were detained in Buenos Aires province and 128 in Santa Fe province, the authorities say.

Memories of the 2001 looting and riots, during latest economic crisis, are still fresh in the South American country.

But the government of Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner accuses organised groups, linked to the opposition and the “right-wing media”, of trying to undermine its social reform programme.

"There is a part of Argentina that wants to drive the country into chaos and violence," deputy Security Minister Sergio Berni said in Bariloche.

"But this Argentina is not the same of 2001," he added.

Buenos Aires province governor Daniel Scioli also says the disruption is politically motivated.

"People who are leaving looted shops with plasma TVs are not hungry," said Scioli.

Opposition union leader Hugo Moyano dismissed the government’s accusations.
"This is probably triggered by the difficult situation the people of Argentina are facing. I cannot imagine that this has been organised by someone," said Mr Moyano, head of the powerful CGT union
Note: In an earlier article the BBC says the Government is pinning the attacks on “anarchist organisations”.

Argentina looting spreads to Buenos Aires province

Argentine police have clashed with hundreds of people trying to loot a supermarket near Buenos Aires.

The incident took place in broad day light outside a Carrefour supermarket in San Fernando, in the outskirts of the capital.

Riot police used tear gas and managed to stop the attack. But in other parts of the country, supermarkets and shops have been looted.

The government says trade unions linked to the opposition are to blame.

"This has been orchestrated. Someone has started all this to create an atmosphere of fear," said San Fernando mayor Luis Andreotti.

Argentine television showed images of people - many of them with their faces covered - throwing stones at the police and trying to break into shops and supermarkets.

The first looting incidents happened on Thursday in the southern resort city of Bariloche.

At least three supermarkets were looted there by more than 100 people, who left with electronics, toys, clothes and food.

Following a request from the provincial governor, the central government sent some 400 federal troops to Bariloche, in Santa Fe province.

Plasma TVs

Other attacks were registered overnight in the industrial cities of Campana and Zarate, in Buenos Aires province; Resistencia, in the north; and in Argentina’s third city, Rosario.

Two people were killed in Rosario as security guards tried to stop the looting.

At least 117 people were detained in Buenos Aires province and 128 in Santa Fe province, the authorities say.

Memories of the 2001 looting and riots, during latest economic crisis, are still fresh in the South American country.

But the government of Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner accuses organised groups, linked to the opposition and the “right-wing media”, of trying to undermine its social reform programme.

"There is a part of Argentina that wants to drive the country into chaos and violence," deputy Security Minister Sergio Berni said in Bariloche.

"But this Argentina is not the same of 2001," he added.

Buenos Aires province governor Daniel Scioli also says the disruption is politically motivated.

"People who are leaving looted shops with plasma TVs are not hungry," said Scioli.

Opposition union leader Hugo Moyano dismissed the government’s accusations.

"This is probably triggered by the difficult situation the people of Argentina are facing. I cannot imagine that this has been organised by someone," said Mr Moyano, head of the powerful CGT union

Note: In an earlier article the BBC says the Government is pinning the attacks on “anarchist organisations”.