Bristol: Picton Lane site resists eviction

Last week Freedom reported that the Picton Lane site in Bristol was facing eviction after having been given a notice to leave. The notice was not a court order and was delivered only a day into the lockdown 2.0. Picton Lane site is a home to a number travellers & friends.

The current government lockdown guidelines state that evictions mustn’t happen unless it is a case of “emergency”. There is no emergency on Picton Lane: the owner of the site has been applying, unsuccessfully, for a planning permission since 2017, and the decision to evict people from here during the covid pandemic is more than inexplicable.

Below, we publish a short report from Picton Lane residents, who resisted the illegal eviction attempt with the support from others.

Awake most of the night, we were pleasantly surprised to see supporters begin arriving as early as 5am. However, the bailiffs were not so keen. Even police reacted quicker, with a few officers coming down at around 7.10am. [Read More]

Bristol: urgent call for support to resist site eviction

Freedom received the following call-out from the people living in the Picton Lane site in Bristol. If you are able, support them tomorrow, 9th November, in resisting illegal eviction. Pass it on.
We are a group of travellers & friends currently residing on a site in Picton Lane, Montpelier, Bristol, in caravans. Just one day into the second lockdown, we were given a notice to leave by tomorrow morning, 7am by Andrew Wilson & Co bailiffs. The notice was NOT a court order and even included a spelling mistake.
The owner of the land we are on has been applying for permission to build apartment & offices there for years, with applications going back to 2017. We are sure these would not be affordable flats and locals oppose them. All of these applications have been rejected. The land has been staying empty for years, excluding another group of vehicle dwellers who were evicted about 18 months ago.
The current government lockdown guidelines state that evictions mustn’t happen unless it is a case of “emergency”. We don’t think this situation is an emergency at all. No planning permission has been accepted and we have just started a second lockdown. Criminal cases fall under “emergency” in these guidelines, however, this is a civil matter.
We seek support on the day, 7am and earlier, as we expect the bailiffs to be aggressive. We feel we must resist and that our demands should be met: 1. To have contact with the owner 2. To be allowed to remain until the end of lockdown and 3. If an eviction must happen, we want it to be done via proper means aka via a court order. [Read More]

UK: Notes for New Squatters

The government’s U-turn on evictions is merely a temporary reprieve — and today Freedom is publishing this newly updated Advisory Service for Squatters guide, which will only get more relevant as the year wears on.

Squatting means occupying empty buildings, or land, without permission. Normally, it means homeless people finding somewhere to live, for a while at least, but what people do with the space they occupy is up to them. The following is a very basic guide. For more information or if you have any problems contact the Advisory Service for Squatters (ASS).

Non-residential squatting is still legal

Squatting in non-residential buildings, or where there has been an agreement, is still a civil matter. To resolve it the owner has to take you to court. The owners have legal ways and procedures to have squatters evicted and cannot legally use force or threats. Section 6 of the Criminal Law Act 1977 makes it an offence to force entry to a building which is occupied, and this includes squats. This will no longer help against the police if they are enforcing the new law against squatters in residential properties, but is otherwise still valid. This is explained in the Legal Warnings, which squatters have either on display or ready to show people. [Read More]

Bristol: Glenfrome Road eviction resistance report

This is a report from participants in the successful eviction resistance in Bristol on 13th June.

Soon after 6 in the morning around 30 bailiffs from GRC turned up at a site in St Werburgh’s with a JCB to do the dirty work of making people homeless. The people squatting the land and over 100 friends and supporters had other ideas. Here’s how it went.

Now as we all know, all bailiffs are total scum, but GRC bailiffs have a reputation for being the worst of the worst. They have repeatedly shown how they enjoy hurting people and mixing work with pleasure. There are undoubtedly far right thugs in their ranks, enthusiastically honouring the age old tradition of fascists doing the dirty work for the bosses and landlords.

On the other side stood people who had found their housing solution, living in vans and trucks on a large piece of disused land which had been empty for a decade or so. Travellers and van dwellers need safe sites and self organised housing makes even more sense during a pandemic. You’d think the same would be true of not evicting people during a dangerous virus outbreak, but when has what’s right ever mattered for the rule of property and the law that protects it? [Read More]

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]