|Apartment Building squatted in Helsinki|
1.9.2001 An Apartment Building Occupied in Helsinki
During the afternoon of Saturday, 1.9., a group of approximately 50 people occupied a house in central Helsinki. The house, which is situated in a beautiful park-like mental hospital area between a graveyard and Nokia research center, has been left unused for about two years.
An offer for renting the house for housing of young people was made in December 2000, but it was rejected.
The operation went quite smoothly despite some initial difficulties: a security officer coming raving to throw the occupiers out, some misconceptions with the police officers, and a pointless argument with the authorities about whether the occupiers should give their personal data.
The house seems to be in perfect condition. Three apartments out of about twenty have been opened an are being used for sleeping, dining and other necessary activities. The occupiers are planning on opening the ground floor to be used as a public living room, for example as a café.
When the house was entered, there was already running water and electricity available. These were cut as a symbolic gesture by the representative of the current holder of the house.
The police is having a policy that no people except a named person is allowed to go in, and only food may be brought inside. Even sleeping bags and cigarettes are disallowed. However, this restriction will be very hard to control especially in the nighttime.
If problems with the police would arise, the occupiers may always climb on the roof of the house, from where they’re practically impossible to carry off safely.
The squat will probably be in this state until after weekend, when the negotiations with the authorities will be further continued.
Katto ry (Roof soc.reg.) An association for occupying unused buildings for common use.