Amsterdam: Netherlands after the Squatting Ban

Wednesday 6 October 2010

On the first of October – Squatting in the Netherlands has been criminalised

On the first of October, squatting in the Netherlands has been criminalised. The major cities, though decided not to execute this law.
When the new mayor of Amsterdam Eberhard van der Laan announced a week ago to evict all of the existing 300 squats as soon as possible, people were very surprised and angry at the events.
The next day the main prosecutor for squatting cases Otto van der Bijl and the chief of the special eviction unit Leen Schaap got threatened and are now under 24 hours police protection.

As an answer to the new eviction policy 800 squatters and sympathisers demonstrated on the first of October in Amsterdam. Out of the demo a house got squatted and the group remained for a while to support and celebrate this first so called “illegal squatting action”. After a while the demo proceeded towards the endpoint. After a few hundred meters the people involved got violently attacked by the cops on foot and on horse-back, who tried to first enter the demo from the front, but found themselves successfully fought back. Only when the cops stormed the mass on horses from the back the group separated. This didn’t stop the squatters from fighting back and taking over the streets, which resulted in riots for several hours in the Amsterdam inner city.
For the first time in a decade cops tried to stop the riot by throwing teargas grenades into the demonstration.
In total 11 people got arrested, some cops and people got hurt and some demonstrators were hospitalised of which one person with two cracks in the skull. The hospital and the individual are suing the cops for attempted manslaughter. All arrestees are free.

The following day another demonstration against the squatting ban took place in Nijmegen with about 600 people. Also here it came to a violent confrontation with the police. Police on horses trampled on the demonstrators and people got seriously hurt. 9 people were held in prison until recently. All arrestees are free again.

In the following days a police station in Amsterdam got attacked with Molotov cocktails. The act has not been claimed by any individual or group.
Since Friday riot cops, special military police, water canons and helicopters have been in high concentrations throughout Amsterdam. The strategy of the city of Amsterdam seems to be keeping all the squatters in a constant state of emergency, which leads to a rising tension in the city, which the police are not used dealing with. People are expecting the first eviction wave to be soon.

The mayor stated that he finds the situation very unpleasant and plans to charge the damages to the squatters, though he does not believe that there is much to get from them.

Following actions and updates will be announced as soon as possible.

For more info check

Amsterdam Demo: