Camden, London: Two charged with Section 144 after council house occupied in protest of sell-offs and then evicted

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Update 25-02 11pm: Both people charged with Section 144 and bailed for plea hearing next month in Highbury Corner Magistrates Court.

Update 25/02 12pm: Police broke in to arrest two people on suspicion of Section 144 LASPO (see  video).

Update 24/02 5pm: Police have showed up and said “Oh it’s a protest, happy days” and within two minutes all four cop cars left.

Article from 23-02 12pm: Camden Housing Action Group is occupying council property on Southampton road to protest against its selling off to private developers.

Camden council has promised to the residents of Camden that no residential housing stock would be sold off, but non residential properties such as land and garages would be sold to fund new housing.

Without any consultation or public announcement Camden council broke its promise by offering up for auction several residential properties on Southampton road.

Camden housing action group is calling on Camden council to withdraw the properties from the sale, issue an explanation and confirm that no further sell offs will take place in the future.

Anna Gardener, a member of Camden housing action group said:

“Our occupation is a protest at the mass sell-off of desperately needed council housing in our borough, and the whole of London, which is exacerbating the housing crisis and amounts to social cleansing as low income residents are forced out of zones 1 and 2.

“Our occupation is also a challenge to section 144 of the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders act which criminalises squatting in abandoned residential properties. By using the building as a protest occupation, section 144 cannot be applied. We want to show the importance of being able to still use abandoned residential buildings for community protests such as ours. Criminalising squatting will only make the housing crisis worse, undermining the right to shelter and protest.”

Photo opportunities – There will be banners on the building so people can take photographs from the street. We will try and get some photos up online soon – please contact camdenhag [at] gmail [dot] com for more info.

Press release from- Housing Action Southwark & Lambeth

Evening Standard article – http://www.standard.co.uk/news/london/police-raid-crushes-squatting-protest-in-belsize-park-9153968.html?origin=internalSearch

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