Silence is Golden
Using new legislation that criminalises squatting in any residential property a London court has recently sentenced a young man of 21 to 3 months in prison, despite being of .previous good character and having no legal representation, prison was considered an appropriate sentence for a homeless person occupying an empty building.
This new and poorly formulated law needs to be challenged and tested in the courts. To help both yourself and fellow squatters ER recommends a no comment interview with police. Silence is Golden. If you don’t have a solicitor consider ringing Squatters Legal Network on 07925769858. Under no circumstances should you make a guilty plea without good legal advice. ER is sure there are competent duty solicitors, but we feel that it is better not to trust them.
The forces of darkness descended on the peaceful, commercial Hackney property this morning in order to carry out their wrong doing. They were met, however, by a rather large crowd who stood their ground and defended their right to shelter. The 20 occupants of Dove Row remain in their home despite the wishes of capitalist property developers. Viva la resistance – homes for all!!
After the resistance there was a march that ended at Hackney Town Hall.
We’ve been keeping track of squat related activity since September 1st when squatting in residential building was made illegal. Here’s a quick round up:
A few days ago we reported that 5 individuals were, to our knowledge, the first to be arrested under the new law. Coincidently, it has also been revealed that proposals to make more emergency accommodation for homeless young people in Somerset have twice been turned down by planners. We understand the Squatters Legal Network are keen to support those arrested. Here’s more information from the local press in Somerset:
Last Saturday, Police visited a squat in Chichester after the owner asked them to get the squatters out. It is reported that the squatters left of their own accord and no arrests were made. Local homeless charity Stonepillow was critical of the new legislation:
“It is also worth noting that many of the properties occupied as squats are ‘disused, empty buildings’ and some squatters choose this option as opposed to sleeping rough.”
The squatters arrested following a police raid on a part residential property were charged with abstracting electricity, obstructing a police officer and the offence of squatting in a residential building. They were bailed unconditionally until they appear in court in October.
Housing activists and homeless people have been threatened with court proceedings if they do not vacate the council owned residential building they are occupying. A spokesperson for the group stated that there were genuinely homeless people sheltering in the building who will be forced out onto the streets again. More info here:
One squat, and possibly a second, has been closed down using the new legislation. Another has been served court papers. One person was arrested and then released without charge.
We don’t have any more information on the six people arrested in Southwark yet but we’ll update as soon as we do. Other than those arrests, London has been reasonably quiet. We’re getting a lot of reports of landlords/police giving squatters notice to leave rather than them attempting to enter the building and arrest them. Other residential squats which are awaiting eviction/court proceedings don’t seem to have been affected. The metropolitan police seem quite reluctant to enforce this legislation. Probably because when they signed up to becoming a police officer they were more interested in dealing with real crime not turfing homeless people out of empty houses.
So. That’s the update from us. Solidarity to all. Let us know if we’ve missed anything out!
A group of London squatters descended on the houses of parliament last Saturday to serve the coalition government notice of eviction. We expect many more actions of a similar nature to come over the next few weeks as the anti-squatting legislation kicks in. Watch this space for updates!
Full story & pics here:
Epic standoff between Brighton squatters and Sussex police yesterday as new anti squatting legislation is used for the first time in Brighton. It took the police three hours to smash through barricades only to find squatters super glued together in the attic! Three were arrested, despite not actually living in the property, and to our knowledge are still in police custody. Full story here:
Also, 5 others were arrested in Somerset yesterday in a police raid on a squatted residential property. Those arrested were aged between 16 – 18. We don’t yet know if they are going to be charged. Watch this space for updates.
Solidarity to all.
Whatever they say, Squatting will stay!!
As you are all aware, squatting in residential properties has now been made a criminal offence. This new law will not apply to everyone though. The Squatters Advisory Service have produced a legal notice explaining to the police how the new law doesn’t apply to certain types of squat.
Good luck everyone!
With hours left before squatting in a residential property became illegal; a Territorial support group backing up enforcement officers smashed their way into a residential property in Dalston yesterday and unlawfully evicted the building of its many residents.
|TSG and Enforcement Officer
|On arrival at the crime scene we found a group of shocked people standing on the pavement surrounded by their personal possessions. Scheduled eviction date was the 26thof September 2012 and they believed that they would be evicted on this date as stated by the court. One person peddled furiously to Gee street county court where he told court officers of the illegal eviction taking place. After checking court documents it was agreed that this was the case and the eviction should be stopped immediately. When this information was relayed to the officers involved in the on-going eviction they replied ‘Ah well, it’s too late now’….
With full knowledge that the eviction was illegal the police continued on with their work. When we spoke to the police about their actions the feeling on their part was that they were the law. This is not so. The police force are the upholders of law; when this is forgotten we move another step closer to a police state. Thankfully the people evicted yesterday will not have to sleep on the streets. Friends and supporters have taken them in. However, this will not be the case for many other people .
The streets are going to fill with rough sleepers while buildings remain empty for years. To say that a property owner has the right to do anything they like with a building is morally bankrupt. A property owner has a duty of care to the community the property is in .You cannot leave buildings empty for years on end while people are homeless.