Amsterdam: Ascii internet work place and Bookshop Fort van Sjakoo threatened with eviction


fort van Sjakoo:

Jodenbreestraat 24 on the street

900% rent increase

The internet werkplaats, ASCII, has received, along with their bookshop neighbours, notice of a rent increase of more than 900%. Our landlords, the Woningbedrijf Amsterdam (Housing Corporation Amsterdam), find this to be a “reasonable proposal”. A letter received from them began, “The Housing Corporation Amsterdam wants the rent from their commercial spaces adjusted to the market price level”. This startling rent increase is to start on Sept. 1 and go from f 580. to f 5100. per month.


Though The Housing Corporation finds this to be a reasonable proposal, ASCII members, the volunteers of the bookshop Fort Van Sjakoo, and the volunteer-run Window to Europe, with whom we share our space, cannot come up with this kind of money. Once this money is demanded, the volunteer-run non-profit organisations sharing this space will be forced to find new premises, and face the loss of these initiatives. Not only can we not pay, we also find the thrust of the Housing Corporation to be unconscionable and excessive, pushing, as they are, more and more non-commercial, idealistic initiatives out of the city centre and towards extinction.

We need support

We beseech you now to support us in our struggle. ASCII started life in a squat on the Herengracht, and moved into the basement of Jodenbreestraat 24 in January 2000, to become the neighbours of the Fort van Sjakoo, and the Window To Europe. We are run entirely by volunteers, and survive in an entirely autonomous way. We supply the people who could not otherwise afford it with free internet access, and we support the activist community with computer access and a space to communicate. We have an online radio news hour once a week, with live streaming and incisive interviews, and every Sunday we have experimental jazz. We also run courses, including the popular Genderchanger Academy, teaching women computer hardware basics. We run popular courses in Linux and basic HTML. We have regular workshops that explain a range of technology related subjects, from PHP programming to monitor hacking. ASCII is also a meeting point for programmers and IT workers with a social conscience, who get together in the spirit of open source and share ideas, start new initiatives to support projects such as indy media, and give support to open source software such as Linux. The internet werkplaats is run entirely on Linux, with one computer running Free BSD, and the chance for volunteers to delve into other open source operating systems. Most of the hardware is recycled and donated. ASCII strives to prove that outdated, no longer fashionable computer hardware is perfect for low-end computer tasks such as internet surfing, and things thrown away by some can be used by others.


The Fort van Sjakoo has been at Jodenbreestraat 24 since 1977. The building was squatted 2 years earlier as a protest against its planned demolition to make way for an office building. The squatters made the building liveable and on the ground floor a successful bookshop was started. Thus the squatters’ resistance was successful and the building was saved. In 1989 the city bought the building for next to nothing; the residents and the bookshop became renters. The Housing Corporation was then still a part of the municipality, and they got possession of the building. Since then the company has become privatised. The bookshop supplies people with all sorts of information that they can’t easily find elsewhere. The collection consists of a wide range of left-wing political, social criticism, avant-garde, artistic, rebellious, odd and environmentally friendly books and magazines, often impossible to find else where.

Also housed in Jodenbreestraat 24 is the foundation Window To Europe, created in 1989 with the goal of promoting the cultural consciousness and mutual understanding between people who were for a long time separated by the Iron Curtain. They have through the years concentrated on the traditional musical cultures from the different ethnic groups who live in the former Soviet Union. Lately they’ve added a form of electronic music. In the bookshop is the office from the foundation European Juggling Association, who organizes, among other things, a yearly festival which attracts more than 3000 jugglers.

Alternative Amsterdam?

These four initiatives are all non-commercial, non-profit and vibrantly contribute to the life that makes Amsterdam the unique city that it is. If the Housing Corporation is successful in its push to make more and more money, they will be responsible for the sterilisation of a famously artistic city, a *dumbing down* of a city that prides itself on its creativity and social inclination. The Housing Corporation is not allowed to raise its rent for living space but is legally within its rights to raise the rent for buisnesses to the market level. This thinking comes from the assumption that businesses by default turn a profit. And The Housing Corporation Amsterdam isn’t legally bound to differentiate between rent increases for different types of businesses and organizations. But there are many non-commercial idealistic organisations which are purely altruistic in nature that are being turned out on the street with the gentrification of the city centre.

The commercial space in Jodenbreestraat has recently increased to absurd levels as its level of popularity has increased. For decades the street was full of unpopular ugly buildings, which were falling apart, and construction sites. The last few years the city has been busy with fixing up the street. First they took away the terrible buildings. Then came new buildings and the pavement was redone with fancy stones. The junkies were kicked out of the area, and since recently there is an alcohol ban. The policy of the city hall was successful: tourist attractions like the Holland Experience, big chain stores like Blokker and Albert Heijn wanted to be on the now upscale street. And the price per square metre increased in record time to 10 times higher. As these non-commercial and social organisations are under pressure because of the enormously inflated rent increases, the only way to stop the trend is to have a non-profit rent catagory for social and non-commercial initiatives.


We, along with our neighbours Het Fort van Sjakoo, the Window To Europe, and the European Juggeling Association, want the Housing Corporation Amsterdam to withdraw their rent increase. Support from the people who believe in what we all do is warmly welcome. We would really appreciate it if our supporters began their own actions in support of us. If you want to know what’s going on you can put yourself on a couple of mailing lists:

sjakoo-announce [at] squat [dot] net ascii-announce [at] squat [dot] net

Please send your opinion about the rent increase to the directors of the Woningbedrijf Amsterdam (Housing Corporation) and send us a copy too.

Woningbedrijf Amsterdam Muntendamstraat 1 1091DR AmsterdamPostbus 94278 1090GG Amsterdam Fax 020-6630829 e-mail: binnenstad [at] woningbedrijf-amsterdam [dot] nl ASCII Jodenbreestraat 24 sous 1011NK Amsterdam e-mail: ascii [at] squat [dot] net

International Bookshop Het Fort van Sjakoo Jodenbreestraat 24 1011NK Amsterdam Telefoon: 020-6258979 Fax: 020-6203570 e-mail: sjakoo [at] xs4all [dot] nl

Bialystok/Poland – a squat raided by police, then reoccupied by angry squatters


  Bialystok/Poland – a squat raided by police, then reoccupied by angry squatters


In the morning of August 7th 2001, De Centrum squat, located in Bialystok (Poland), has been raided by police forces. About 10 plain clothes officers, 1 police car and one anti-drug department car were present. Doors were broken, although two people remaining inside barricaded themselves and this gave us time to call all local medias which arrived immediately.

2 people were detained.

The police searched the place, they had a search warrant.

In the evening, squatters recaptured building raided the morning by the police.

The official explanation for the raid is “seeking stolen items”. Although no stolen items and drugs were found, the police seized huge amounts of squat equipment including a power generator, tape-recorders and tons of other stuff. The whole building was systematically trashed by police : they even poured washing fluid in our drinkable water and stole 2 kilos of onions !

The media coverage was very big, and the next day we organized a press conference, where all the medias could see what the cops had done to our place.

On August 9th, minor scuffles occured in and outside the police station, where squatters tried to get their stolen equipment back.

On the same day, the two people detained during the raid were released without charges.

That’s it, as for now.

Because we lost all our equipment and sustained serious damages, we ask everyone to contribute financially. We are not able to continue our actions right now and the squat will be on auction on the 21st of August.

We want to block it! De Centrum will stay in our hands !

Contact : “soja” <soja2 [at] poczta [dot] onet [dot] pl>

De Centrum squatters



Bialystok/Poland- De Centrum squat raided by police


  Bialystok/Poland- De Centrum squat raided by police


Tue, 7 Aug 2001 10:33:23 +0200

Todays morning De Centrum squat had been raided by police forces. About 10

plain clothes officers, 1 police car and one anti-drug department car had been on place. Door were broken, although two people remaining inside barricaded themselves and this gave us time to call all local media which arrived immediately. 2 people were detained. Right now police is searching the place. The had search warrant. We don’t know what are they planning and situation of detained people as for now is unknown. tomorrow we will try to re-squat our building and do some counteraction. for evening we are preparing press statement about this raid. We are waiting for your solidarity. maybe we will be forced to squat another place so all money etc is needed. It is possible that police seized all our valuable equipment etc. so we will need all possible support. De Centrum squatters — Jest niezly … i liscik napisze OnetKomunikator []





Italy: Instant release of all individuals that were arrested during the demonstrations against the G-8 meeting in Genua!

“The gate opened constantly, the people got out of the trucks and were beaten up. They had to stand against the wall. Inside, they smashed their heads against the wall. They pied on some of them. A young woman threw up blood while the chef of the GOM (special unit of the department for domestic affairs) watched. They threatened the woman with raping her with their clubs.”
– Italian police officer in an interview with “La Republica”

The violent actions of the police during the G-8 meeting in Genua show that the large protest movements against the politics of the leading industrial nations are in this case being stopped and hindered by violence on the street and torture of arrested individuals if necessary. [Read More]

Tags: ,

Italian consulate in Amsterdam still occupied


  Italian consulate in Amsterdam still occupied


The consulate was evicted just before midnight. for more information.
The italian consulate in Amsterdam was occupied this morning as a protest against the treatment of demonstrants in Genoa during the G8 summit.

The police just told that they won’t evict this night. Negotiations will be continued tomorrow morning.

Nobody is allowed to enter the consulate anymore. People are free to leave but the protesters decided to stay because their demands are not fullfilled (‘releasing all political prisoners’ )

This night there will be a street party to support the people still in jail and the people who are in the consulate



Today, Wednesday August 1 2001 at 11:30, 50 activists from the “Ya Pasta! Collective” occupied the Italian consulate at Herengracht 581 in Amsterdam. The action is a protest against the violence used by the Italian police on protestors during the G8 summit in Genoa.


Italian Consulate in Amsterdam Occupied for Genoa Police Violence

Today, Wednesday August 1 2001 at 11:30, 50 activists from the “Ya Pasta! Collective” occupied the Italian consulate at Herengracht 581 in Amsterdam. The action is a protest against the violence used by the Italian police on protestors during the G8 summit in Genoa. There is no doubt anymore that many protestors have been beaten up without reason. During the July 21st raid on the Diaz school, where many people found a sleeping place, 93 people have been arrested, 52 of whom had to be taken into hospital. Of this last group, 32 had to stay in hospital for a longer period of time. In the end, only 1 arrested person was charged, the rest have been released without charges. Other evidence have shown systematic torture at police stations and in prisons. A group of women (including one with a broken leg) have been forced into ‘spreadeagle’ stand against a wall for 19 hours. People have been beaten and intimidated, women have been threatened with rape, one person was urinated on by police. The people who are still in jail (like the 25 people from the NoBorderNoNations Street Theatre Caravan) we consider to be political prisoners. The only reason for their detention are their political ideas on migration and neo-liberal economic globalisation. Berlusconi’s government party Forza Italia is (extreme) rightwing, coalition partners Lega Norte and Allianza Nazionale are both neo-fascist parties who are actively countering democratic resistance. Furthermore, most Italian TV stations are owned by the Berlusconi imperium, which makes independent reporting very hard in Italy.

The violence and repression against the G8 protestors in Genoa is not only inspired by a fascist police force and government. It is also the repression we saw being used in Prague and Gothenburg against the resistance against neo-liberal economic globalisation. We are getting too strong, and therefore dangerous to those in power: multinationals, politicians and high level officials. We are millions, not only in the North, but even more in the South, where many people before have died at protests against neo-liberal economic globalisation. The repression won’t stop us, we will continue our resistance.

During the occupation of the Italian consulate we have discovered a large amount of weapons: six kitchen knives, a petrol bomb labelled “thinner”, a black madonna, black shoe police, a broom (including stick) and a package of pointed uncooked spaghetti stalks. This alone would justify an investigation into the activities of all Italian government representatives in The Netherlands. The provisional closure of the consulate would be appropriate. We will remain inside until our demands have been met.

We demand the Italian government to:

  • release all political prisoners immediately;
  • enable an independent investigation op all police activities in and around Genoa, as well as the treatment of prisoners;
  • fire the Minister of Interior Scajola and those directly responsible for the police raid in the Diaz school on July 21st, as well as all police people involved;
  • pay the hospital costs and legal aid for arrested and wounded people, as well as the costs for protestors of coping with the traumas suffered during the police violence.We demand the Italian consul to:
  • convince all consulate representatives to dissociate themselves from the violence and torture protestors had to endure;
  • support the call for an independent investigation. There is enough evidence. If they would choose not to react on these demands, we’d kindly ask them to leave The Netherlands.We demand the Dutch government to:
  • call back the Dutch ambassador from Italy as a protest against the Italian police behaviour;
  • call the Italian ambassador in The Netherlands for an explanation;
  • support the call for an independent investigation.[squat!net]