On the 21st of December 2016 the court in The Hague sentenced ten people who were arrested during the eviction De Vloek free space to pay 30.030.35 in damages to the city council.
De Vloek, after being squatted for 13 years, was evicted on the 9th of September 2015 by an excessive police force, the army, anti terror units, water canons and a sniper. [Vloek on S!N] Ten people were arrested and later sentenced for squatting and five of the ten for violence against police officers. Those five also spent two weeks in prison.
Months after the eviction the council issued a demand claiming more than 50,000 euros in so called damage costs. We refused to pay and started a court case that lasted a couple of months. On the 21st of December 2016 the judge sentenced us to pay 30.030,35 euros in damages to the council. The amount is meant to cover the costs of transporting rubble, supposedly used for barricades, from the eviction site and also includes bailiff costs.
It’s not the first time that a city council has used the method of financial repression. People who resisted the eviction of Ubica in Utrecht were sentenced to pay 37.500 euros. This is one of the many methods the state has at its disposal to quell social struggles and to add an extra punishment on top of the criminal sentence already received. We are being held collectively responsible for the payments to be made. This means everyone is held accountable for the entire sum; everyone of us can be held personally responsible to pay the entire 30.030,35 euros. It is therefor not possible to divide the amount by ten for everybody to pay their share.
We have decided to go into appeal. The appeal does not postpone the execution of the verdict. The question is thus if the council will wait for the verdict of the appeal or implement the current verdict.
Lets not forget what the struggle around De Vloek was about. A very active struggle was fought for 18 months. From the squatting of The Pier, the occupation of the city council’s roof and various demo’s and other actions. This struggle did not only focus on the defence of an important social space in the anti-capitalist movement. It was also a struggle against gentrification in Scheveningen. A struggle which not only involved us but a lot of other people in The Hague en elsewhere. A struggle against the repression by capital, developers and the megalomania of local politicians. A struggle which must be continued!
Despite this sentencing and the other repressive measures effecting us in The Hague we are determined to not bow down to this world of exploitation, racism and authority. The fight continues!
More information about repression in The Hague: https://autonomendenhaag.wordpress.com/2016/08/17/the-netherlands-the-area-ban-against-anarchists-in-a-broader-context-of-repression-in-the-hague/