A few weeks ago, we heard the tragic news that the new anti-squatting legislation (section 144 of the LASPO bill) had claimed it’s first life. Daniel Gauntlett, a 35 year old homeless man, froze to death in front of an empty, boarded up bungalow in Kent. Reports state that the police prevented him from sheltering in the building by threatening arrest under the new offence of squatting in a residential building. Not wishing to break the law, he gave up hope of getting out of the -2 freeze and bedded down on the porch of the building. As a result, he contracted hypothermia and lost his life. The full article can be read here.
Obviously, this has caused absolute outrage amongst squatters and others who warned the government that vulnerable people would face serious risks if squatting was criminalised. Sadly, those in power did not listen.
Here’s some of the responses to this awful, awful news:
A new website which, quite rightly, points the finger of blame at Mike Weatherly, the morally bankrupt Hove MP who pushed through this inhumane legislation.
Mike Weatherly’s response to claims that he is personally responsible for Daniel Gauntlett’s death can be found here.
SQUASH campaigners wrote an open letter to Weatherly and The Argus to dispel some of the ridiculous misinformation that Weatherly spouts about squatters.
Labour Mp for Hays and Harlington, John Mc Donnell
‘People are being made unnecessarily homeless and very vulnerable people are suffering as a consequence. This legislation was based upon prejudice and has only made matters worse. This new evidence demonstrates so clearly the need to repeal this misguided law.’ John McDonnell MP.
Posted onFebruary 9, 2013|Comments Off on CITY OF LONDON POLICE: YET ANOTHER ILLEGAL EVICTION
Last Monday, the resistance mobilised in response to threat of unlawful eviction.
A group of around 30 homeless young people had occupied an empty building in the city of London. However, after a few days of shelter they received a visit from one of the UK’s most corrupt corporations – the city of London police. They were told that they would have to leave the building with immediate effect as they were committing ‘aggravated trespass’. Knowing this was not the case, they sought legal advice and a legal observer went to their assistance.
The forces of darkness, however, decided to continue on with their empty threats despite knowing full well that no offence was being committed. The resistance began mobilising outside the building and after a few hours there was an impressive 60 strong turnout. After a few hours of anxious waiting, information came in that riot cops were being briefed in a side street close to the building. Those inside and outside the building began preparing themselves for the violence that was inevitably about to come.
At round 9pm, 7 hours after the police had first arrived, 20 riot cops charged the building and forcefully threw members of the peaceful resistance, locked on in front of the main entrance, to the floor. Violent scuffles were had as people tried to clamber to their feet. Those inside the building were dragged out and dumped on the pavement. Within ten minutes, the eviction was over and the group back out on the streets.
The only offence that was committed, to our knowledge, was when a member of the Met police punched one of the evictees directly in the face while shouting ‘move back!’. We’re pretty sure that this is not an orthodox way of crowd control… We’ve seen the footage and have strongly advised the individual to press charges.
So. The City of London police are at it again – wasting time and resources to evict homeless people from empty buildings. Here’s a video from a particularly memorable incident that happened last year. The city of London police called in the TSG to unlawfully evict a newly opened squat. The crime? An allegation of theft…… of a padlock. Lol, proportionate.
Posted onJuly 5, 2012|Comments Off on Desperate times, desperate, deadly measures
These stickers are seen on wheelie bins around Brighton and Hove, the constituency of Mike Wetherly – the MP that initially proposed the criminalisation of squatting. It’s a sign of a profoundly sick society when people are forced to take shelter where others dispose of their rubbish.
Also, the cartoon strip below was the central page feature in London and Scotland’s free magazine for the homeless (thepavement.org) April 2012 edition. What sort of ‘developed country’ are we living in when human lives are being lost in such a horrific way?
Comments Off on Desperate times, desperate, deadly measures