Prague: Sept09 – Trials and solidarity

This Monday 14th September 2009, the first few squatters, detained during the Saturday action in Apolinářská Street, were taken over to court.

The first trial had to start at 3 PM. At that time, some fifty people gathered in front of the building or even inside, in front of the courtroom, to show their solidarity with charged people. The sole judge only allowed journalists who possessed a press pass to enter the room. But this weird decision was stridently refused by the comrades of accused squatters and as the judge couldn’t find an answer why people with a certain card should be favoured, he excluded all public from the trial.

Tha support and encouragement was then only showed by presence in front of the court or in the hall. It’s important to point out that this really was an encouragement and all the charged (and later released) people found our presence to be a big relief and help, important after all those hours they had spent isolated in a cell. We could even see their tired faces, that just brightened up after they saw their comrades’ gathering, even if they knew that the trial would take place in few minutes.

The eight people, who were judged this Monday, left with these verdicts: one of them discharged, three people condemned to 80 hours of community service, two people to 100 hours of community service and two people had a probation of one year and eventually two months of prison, if charged during the year.

Even the judge himself couldn’t credibly explain the differences between sentences for people who manifestly committed the same act. Up till now, it seems, that the judge was severe with those who seemed to stand more determinate on their principles.

There’s probably no point in crying over the fact that the police deprived most of the detainees of their basic rights. The police didn’t allow them to inform their lawyer, vegetarians were offered no food at all etc. The journalist, who was detained with them, used the media to promote the behavior of police which knew that he was a person from the press. Everybody can then imagine, how the police behaved with those detained “junkies” – a word that police used often when talking to the squatters.

The day wasn’t over when the last person was charged. At around midnight, a short but noisy demonstration, in solidarity with the other squatters who were still in cells, was held in front of the police station in Kongresova Street. Some 25 people were shouting words of solidarity to show, that we are still there for our comrades and give them our psychological support.

This group of squatters is then going to court today on Tuesday from 9 AM. Please show your solidarity and help our comrades to overcome this horrible experience. The struggle continues!