Bonn: Former Iranian Embassy Squatted and Evicted

The former Iranian embassy in Bonn was recently squatted in solidarity
with political activism, feminist struggles and prisoner rights in Iran.
Unfortunately it has now been evicted. It was occupied on International
Women’s Day, Thursday March 8, and was raided by over one hundred riot
cops one week later.

Apparently the building no longer had special status since the embassy
had moved to Berlin and had been empty for twenty years since the
reunification of Germany. Mainstream media in Germany and Iran
(including the Tehran Times!) reported that four “opportunists” had been
removed and it was unclear if they would face any charges. You can read
the manifesto of the squatters on the Institut für Anarchismusforschung
blog below and follow them on twitter.

Declaration on the squatting of the former Iranian embassy in the city
of Bonn (english translation)

The former Iranian embassy in Bonn has been squatted last thursday and
is still occupied to this day. It is meant as a gesture of solidarity
with the progrressive protest in Iran, the protesting women, the
political prisoners and is at the same time meant to shed light on the
need for a non-commercial space of gathering and free culture.

For months people in Iran are taking their protests against the
mullah-regime to the streets. They are doing so in spite of the risk of
getting arrested, maybe even tortured or murdered. The protests are
covering a wide range of interests and topics like the fight for better
working conditions, the liberation of the numerous political prisoners,
the call for lower prices for food, electricity and rent. The aims of
the protestors are also widespread: from a call for a western-style
democratic political system to an outright anti-capitalist society.
Despite the emancipatory and anti-clerical nature of the protest there
are also reactionary forces, like supporters of the monarchy, hoping to
replace the islamic dictatorship by another backward system.

The Iranian regime is brutally cracking down on the protests. According
to the Iranian government more than 3500 anti-government protestors have
been arrested and more than 50 have been killed. Activists are counting
many more casualties.

By squatting the embassy on March 8 – the international day of women’s
rights – we deliberately chose time and place for the occupation in
order to express our solidarity with the worldwide struggle for women’s
rights. A world worth living in must realize full equality of the
genders. The occupation of the Iranian embassy is meant to send our
greetings to the brave women of Iran who are rising up against the
patriachal and repressive system. They are among the ones suffering most
from the rigid religious oppression like the compulsory head scarf. They
are demanding the right to self-determination and the ability to chose
what they want to wear or not.

Furthermore we are a group of people of different backgrounds who have
come together in order to take a stance in the question of who the city
belongs to and how it develops. We are noticing quite some changes in
the city of Bonn, some of which are not in the best interests of its
citizens (and non-citizens). A measure for the rising interest in these
things can be seen in the formation of a number of different interest
groups protesting these changes like the „Viva Viktoria“ group speaking
out against the gentrification of the Viktoria quarter in the centre of
Bonn, the protest against the closing of different public pools in order
to build a new central one, a prestige project of the local government.
At the same time we are witnessing ever rising rents and empty buildings
that could be used for housing.
With some concern we are observing these developments which reflect the
gentrification of the city, pushing people with low income aside while
serving corporate interests.

So the occupation was also a practical step to protest these changes. We
are planning to make it an open space for self-organized culture and
politics, a place where people can come together and communicate with
each other. Since there are hardly any places in Bonn where people can
go without being forced to pay admission fees or buy stuff, we mean to
create a free and open space. That’s why we occupied an empty building
that was left to rot anyways and want to revive it.

We are now establishing the „Institute for Anarchist Studies“ where a
radical critique of society is meant to emerge – be it in a brutal
theocratic dictatorship like Iran or be it – though on a different scale
– in a capitalist society, that still is putting strains on individual
freedom and well-being.

Everyone who is interested is invited to come and visit, talk to us and
witness the change unfolding.