Category Archives: section 6

NO JUSTICE, NO PEACE

Early Thursday morning we received some very disturbing news. Private bailiffs had smashed their way into a squatted building and were violently removing the sleepy occupants. The building, an empty commercial unit in South Bermondsey, had been occupied for less than 48 hours before the owner called in heavies to get the squatters out. Without going through the courts,  this was of course completely illegal.

One female squatter gave her account of the mornings events: ‘At 7am I woke up to the sound of screaming. Around 20 large men with crowbars and hammers were going from room to room, violently dragging people from their beds to the floor and screaming ‘GET OUT!’. When they came to my room, my partner asked them how they could remove people from the building without a court warrant. They replied by threatening to ‘do him in’  with a crowbar. As I was being pushed out of the building I managed to break free, grab my dog and barricade myself in a room. I called the police immediately’

The police arrived fairly promptly at the scene. On speaking to the bailiffs and squatters they made the decision that the eviction would still go ahead as there was ‘nothing they could do’. The officer in charge was repeatedly told that the bailiffs had used violence to enter the building unlawfully and that this contravened section 6 of the criminal law act 1977.  In addition, one of the squatters had been stabbed by a bailiff in the scuffle to remove him from the building. Yet, the police response was ‘Sorry for the violence, but there’s nothing we can do’.

Thus, despite the wrong doing of the property owner and bailiffs, the squatters were eventually thrown out onto the street. In response to the violence used to  enter the property, the bailiffs claimed to have found the entrance door ‘wide open’. The police seemed to believe this, despite the considerable damage done   to the door ( possibly done through forced entry?)

The squatters who were evicted have been taken in to neighbouring squats and the stab victim received hospital treatment.  This is sadly yet another incident were squatters have been  treated as lower class citizens by the authorities.  Police complaints have been made, we’ll update when we get more info about their progress.

 

WHATEVER THEY SAY, SQUATTING WILL STAY!!

The international squatting symbol

According to Robert Neuwith , author of Shadow cities ,there are more  than  a billion squatters living on this planet.  One in seven people. 


Brazilian squat community

Evidently there is a huge global need for land to grow food on and homes in which to live.  Yet, according to academic Kesia Reeve, “squatting is largely absent from policy and academic debate and is rarely conceptualized, as a problem, as a symptom, or as a social or housing movement.” 




South African Squats

The global response on the part of the 1% has been to make squatting  illegal in most countries. Despite this criminalisation of a huge political movement, (squatting is political), the occupation of empty buildings and land continues.



Squatted Land in London


In the UK, section 144 of the legal aid, sentencing and punishment of offenders bill 2012 criminalises squatting in a residential buildings. The Advisory Service for Squatters (ASS) keep their website current and will let people know when this legislation is enacted. Check it for updates: www.squatter.org.uk



Jamaican squat


Eviction Resistance will be hosting the next London squattastic event.  This will be a great opportunity for London squatters, and guests to come together to brain storm tactics that will ensure squatting continues in England and Wales post criminalisation . It will be on the 2nd of September, from 2pm-6pm. Keep checking this blog for more updates. 





AVON & SOMERSET POLICE: FOUL PLAY

66 Queen Square, site of tonight's illegal eviction by Avon & Somerset police
66 Queens Square Bristol, site of Tuesday’s illegal eviction

Disturbing reports yesterday of yet another unlawful eviction having taken place. In the earlier hours of Tuesday morning, members of the Avon and Somerset police force decided  to evict a group of young squatters on the grounds that they were ‘trespassing’. They stated that squatting had become illegal and that they now had the power to evict the building.

They didn’t. Section 6 of the criminal law act 1977 still applies; entrance by force or by threat of force to a persons residence is still a criminal offence. The inhabitants of the former building society in Bristol had committed no crime, they are were simply occupying an abandoned building and this is still completely lawful. Although the offence of squatting in residential buildings has been passed, it has not yet been enacted. This means the police have no power at all to evict/arrest under this new offence.


Three complaints have been made against the officers who were involved in this incident. We’ll keep you updated on how these complaints progress. The squatters resquatted the property shorty after the police left and to our knowledge they are still there. Respect!


For more info check the indymedia article:


http://www.indymedia.org.uk/en/2012/08/498995.html


HACKNEY RESISTANCE

The forces of darkness stalled by a peaceful demonstration outside the squatted property. On talking to the occupants we learnt that the building had been empty for 13 years and it had now been put back into use as a home for fourteen individuals. A hearty cooked breakfast was enjoyed by the 50 strong turn out and there was much celebration when the bailiffs decided not to go ahead with the eviction. This resistance was back in May, to our knowledge the property still remains squatted to this day.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        


EVICTION RESISTANCE NETWORK


We provide support and advice to those facing eviction. Our support includes:

*Help with organising peaceful resistance and building local networks
*Providing legal observers to monitor evictions
*Advice on what to do in cases of illegal eviction
* Information on other support services
* Workshops on dealing with the police and bailiffs and legal observer training tailored for eviction support

We believe that housing is a human right and no one should be made homeless.  We are currently based in London and trying to help develop a London wide resistance network.

Resist all evictions! Community Power!
Contact us for more information.

Call: 07591 415860 (Giff Gaff Network)
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TOGETHER WE ARE THE RESISTANCE