London: Squatter’s Digest, Greece

Greece, the home of democracy. And molotov cocktails. They also enjoy regular cocktail nights to raise money for the squats and imprisoned anarchists. It’s one thing to know what is going on inside the UK with regards to squats, but I feel we are severely lacking in communication with squats across Europe, or indeed the world. Hopefully I can bring to you some of the news from some of the squats in Greece along with the usual round-up of news from London and beyond.

Setting The Scene

A quick explanation of how the law works in Greece, from a meeting I had with a lawyer personally involved in one of the local neighbourhood squats. Unlike in the UK, squatting is a criminal rather than civil matter. It is based around a few points in the penal code, such as breaching someone’s right to asylum in their own house, or disturbing the community. However the police cannot act unless a complaint is made by the owner to the state prosecutor, who then instructs the police to enforce it. For public buildings there is a bit of a loophole in the penal code dating back to 1938, and a lot of squats in Greece fall into a kind of “hybrid” category, meaning the prosecutor is less likely to take action unless pushed by the local government. However as of the 1st of July this year, the penalties have gone up in accordance with the introduction of a new penal code. What were simple misdemeanours for resisting can now be classified as heavier breaches of law, and can see a jail-term of 3 years, up from the previous maximum of 1 year. Interestingly this was introduced at the same time as the reduction of a lot of other penalties, prompting outrage from other parties. In any case this was the doing of Syriza, and with the election on July 7th, the conservative New Democracy is back in power, so things can be expected to only get worse (more on this later). [Read More]

UK: The social centres roundup

For all its small size and general impoverishment the libertarian socialist movement actually runs a surprisingly large amount of real estate around Britain, all on non-hierarchical lines, by and for the people of the cities and towns we’re in. Housing co-ops, bookshops, bike collectives, archives, distros, printers and the like are all part of the collective mix. Below, Freedom News briefly rounds up some goings-on at 15 radical social centres and spaces over the last few months. [Read More]

UK: Bristol Council and Camelot on back foot as property guardians fight for rights

Rat_infestationBristol Council’s decision to dive into the property guardianship game seems to be coming a cropper as several “guardians” have launched legal and direct action challenges demanding something be done about rat-infested and dangerous tenancies in its buildings.
Having closed public services across the city, the council has found itself flush with empty commercial and office properties, which it decided to make a few pennies on by jumping into bed with Camelot property management in 2013. The firm, along with another company Ad Hoc, now rents out much of its portfolio.

Camelot specialises in the gray-area rentals market of property guardianship, getting hard-up people needing a home to fork out anything up to £500 a month, plus deposit of £500-600, to stay in empty non-residential properties with few rights and eviction at a month’s notice. The firm has repeatedly been condemned as trying on dodgy practices, including initially only offering three weeks’ notice (breaching minimum guidelines) and using “pseudo-legal gibberish” to intimidate people they want out. [Read More]

Bristol: Direct Action against Estate Agents

Award giving in recognition of services to landlords and their rights. We proudly presented bricks through windows of CJA estate agents in Southville on the night of 31st August. All windows smashed and the international squatter symbol painted on their wall. Because despite the ban on squatting houses everyone should have a decent home.
[Read More]

Bristol: Rising Up evicted

Today (March 15) marked six weeks of Rising Up protecting, supporting and loving the land, trees, wildlife and community at Stapleton allotments and Avon & Frome Valley Conservation Area.

After 4 days of a complex and drawn out eviction, due to the persistence and ingenuity of the activists, all of the tree protectors have now been brought down. The eviction has been a generally peaceful but at times challenging experience, with some instances of aggression and assault on protectors, which have been logged and will be reported.
[Read More]

Bristol: Operation Rhone and the Badger hunt

Note: Since this article was published Bristol anarchist Emma Sheppard was sentenced to 2 years in prison in relation to criminal damage of police cars, as part of Operation Rhone. See letter from Em for more info.

When Bristol anarchist Huw ‘Badger’ Norfolk legged it somewhere in late-August 2011, word spread fast across Bristol’s anarchist & radical communities. His decision to absent himself from all and any police investigations was immediately apparent to the many friends he’d had no time to say good-bye to. No doubt many suspected this escape to somewhere would be short-lived. Instead nothing, just the one shout-out from online anonymity(1) two months later, in which he stated his non-compliance bluntly.

Fast-forwards to December 2014 and Badger’s face is staring at us from every national and many local media outlets. Crimestoppers and Avon & Somerset Police’s Operation Rhone announce a £10k reward for information, whilst forcing his parents in north-west Bristol into the media spotlight too(2). Badger is wanted for two specific actions, although no evidence is cited for either. It’s made clear the Badger hunt, and the two actions, are just a part of their investigation into over 100 actions by ‘persons unknown’(3) over the last four years. [Read More]

Bristol: Revenge for Rémi killed by police at the ZAD of Testest, street fires from FAI / ELF

325 receives and transmits:

French police have killed Rémi Fraisse while they try to rout a combative forest occupation that prevents the Sivens dam. We have burned a vehicle in the service of the French multinational GDF (who work towards the new nuclear reactor not far away at Hinkley Point on top of other nuclear projects in many countries, force dams on irreplaceable Amazonian indigenous lands with the support of Brazil’s military, provide facility management for the police force in this region, run utilities on the Shetland Islands for one of the biggest oil and gas terminals in Europe, manage multiple French prisons, and all around design technologies which attempt to disguise industrial capitalism as sustainable development for the same banks and commercial entities as always). [Read More]

Bristol: Kebele social centre is 18 years young

What started as a squatted empty building in the autumn of 1995, has turned into an 18 year (and counting) experimental project putting anarchist ideas and practices into action on a daily basis. Much to the disgust of Kebele’s many detractors over the years, who wont be coming to the 18th birthday bash! (Update – Kebele’s big birthday bash benefit gig on 5th October raised over £2000 for the social centre, thanx to all who came!)
[Read More]

Bristol, UK: Solidarity benefit for Greek autonomous spaces

In Greece a social and ideological war is  being conducted, with global consequences for the current economic and political governance model. The state has pulled off the mask of neo-liberalism. Now It Nazi salutes and cannibalizes; it attacks basic social and labor rights, represses violently any form of resistance, as only these totalitarian methods that will guarantee its survival. Currently the anti-authoritarian community receives regular brutal attacks from both the State and Fascists. Anarchists are portrayed as terrorists, many of whom face heavy prison penalties. Their spaces are being violently evicted and their infrastructures and means of communication; (printing presses, radio stations) destroyed. Social centres within neighbourhoods with many immigrants, act as bulwarks against the Neo-Nazi’s and their murderous practices, where reactionaries are motivated by a fascist paramilitary organization / political party which holds 18 parliamentary seats; Golden Dawn.

[Read More]

Bristol (UK): Overnight rooftop protest averts eviction of Braggs Lane squat

The squat at Bragg’s Lane / West Street in Old Market, Bristol, was on the night of Monday 4th besieged by cops as part of an illegal aviction attempt. After an overnight rooftop protest and negoitation, possession was then regained by 6pm the following day.

See below the updates from ‘braggs lane rooftop climbing club’ from Tuesday 5th for more information on their inspiring eviction resistance:

1pm: thank you for the warm food an drinks, tent and blankets, we wouldn’t have made it through the night without them.
we’re still on roof, have had sporadic visits from police but they wont approach as they deem our position too dangerous.

first chance they get the police will arrest us, probably on suspicion of criminal damage. we have the building though and would like people to occupy it. [Read More]

Bristol: Everything Is Not OK Cafe. Rumours of our Demise Have Been Greatly Exaggerated!

As you may be aware, our plans to host a temporary community cafe run on anarchist principles in Bristol this weekend, have been scarpered after Avon & Somerset Police decided to raid Everything Is Not OK Cafe on Friday morning; evicting the building and arresting the five occupiers.

Plans were afoot to host a temporary community cafe run on anarchist principles in Bristol this weekend. On Wednesday night a crew of people entered the unused Preview Bar on Fairfax Street near Broadmead and secured the premises: Everything Is Not OK Cafe was born! [Read More]

Bristol (UK): Update on the Everything Is Not OK Cafe from the Cut the Crap crew

As you may be aware, our plans to host a temporary community cafe run on anarchist principles in Bristol this weekend, have been scarpered after Avon & Somerset Police decided to raid Everything Is Not OK Cafe on Friday morning; evicting the building and arresting the five occupiers.

Plans were afoot to host a temporary community cafe run on anarchist principles in Bristol this weekend. On Wednesday night a crew of people entered the unused Preview Bar on Fairfax Street near Broadmead and secured the premises: Everything Is Not OK Cafe was born! [Read More]