Amsterdam: Vechtstraat/Amstelkade eviction account

vechtstraat-eviction

Tuesday morning the police evicted the 16 squatted apartment on the Vechtstraat and Amstelkade (including the social centre De Strijd). 8 people were arrested and released tonight (july 23rd). This evening, during the noise demo in solidarity with the arrested, 3 people were arrested and are still detained.

- Background

The block had been squatted on the 1st of March 2014. Despite the propaganda of the media, the squatters were well received by the neighborhood and by the other tenants, who had many problems with the owner. The owner, Wim Oostveen, is a well known real estate speculator, who left his properties rot for months, and who did not even maintain the houses inhabited by regular tenants. A few days after the squatting action, Oostveen was prosecuted for his own bankruptcy and agreed to sell the buildings to a new company: Amstelvecht BV, which was created just after the squat action. This company is part of Sjoma BV, of which the owner is Sjoerd Willem Teunis Peereboom. Sjoma BV is a big company that ownes about seven other companies, some of which are Beleggingsgroep BV, Beleggingsgroep II BV, NL Invest BV and O.G. Cum Annexis BV.

Wim Oostveen did not wait for the state to take initiative, and started a civil court case against the squatters, arguing that he intended to do some renovations on the facade of the building and in the apartments. The judge decided that the owner had the right to access his properties and that the squatters had to be evicted within 2 months. However, she put the condition that, if the owner would not start the renovations of the facade within the 2 months, then the squatters could start a new court case. Obviously, as van Oostveen is bankrupt, no renovation took place. He just sent a construction worker to do a small job on the roof. Apparently this is enough for “starting the renovation”, and the squatters received the eviction notice. It is clear that after the eviction no further renovation will take place and the buildings will keep on standing empty for long time. Yet another silly game of power, that is not simply aimed at profit, but also at turning the city into a political and social desert, and at getting rid of any resistance.

- An eviction or a circus?

The eviction started at 7 AM, with normal cops and a group of technicians. They opened Amstelkade 24-25-26, and Vechstraat 1 without many problem. An anti-kraak was immediately placed on Vechstraat 1.

When the cops encountered the first barricaded door, on Vechstraat 5, they started becoming nervous, and the eviction process started resembling a circus. When trying to open the ground floor, one of the technicians decided to help himself with a broom found on the floor. It was hilarious to acknowledge that squatters have much higher skills and tools then these supposedly professionals hired by the police. It took them up to 12 minutes to open the door of the 1st floor, that was not even barricaded.

Both Vechstraat 7 hs and ground floor were heavily barricaded, and the cops did not manage to open the main doors.

After failing to open the door leading to the higher part of the building, the cops managed to pass by the balcony of the second floor. Once inside the building however, it took them about 30 minutes to access the apartment on the first floor. Here they arrested 5 people who had decided not to leave voluntarily. The arrests have been violent, and violence was used also later on at the police station to get their fingerprints.

The police van with the 5 arrested crashed against the garbage-service truck and lost the side door. Instead of fixing it or calling a new van, the cops decided to transport the arrested in these conditions. We feared for the safety of our comrades, who found themselves handcuffed in a broken van, and in the hands of irresponsible cops who are not able to drive, but are allowed to carry guns.

The climax of the circus happened when the cops did not manage to open the door of the ground floor, the social centre De Strijd. Despite the efforts of the 2 technicians, their 2 crowbars did not make their way through the barricades.
A man of the garbage service decided to take his own initiative and to help the cops, by smashing the barricaded windows. The cops, instead of reacting to this illegal interference with their operations, thanked him and finished smashing the barricaded window, creating a lot of disturbance for the neighborhood and leaving broken glass on the pavement. Once inside they arrested 3 people and pulled them out through the broken window, holding them in dangerous positions and dragging them on the broken glasses.

It was a circus, but it is also very serious. It is yet another evidence of the cop’s legalized brutality and abuse of power. It is yet another evidence of the cop’s incapacity to act professionally and to take care of the safety of the arrested. Apparently they don’t get an IQ test before getting a gun, or do they?

All cops are bastards, yes, but first of all they are just a bunch of well recruited idiots with an uniform and a gun, at the service of higher bastards.

Source (english in comments)