Wassenaar: Ivicke’s Zoning Plan, a Monumental Fuck Up

Enforcement of a zoning plan would suggest there is a plan. There isn’t.

The municipality of Wassenaar has decided to pursue our eviction from Huize Ivicke on the basis of the building’s zoning plan which designates its function as an office, not a residence.

Their reasoning for the decision appears to be that ‘Kantoor Ivicke’ must become ‘uninhabited’ once again in order to be ‘presentable.’ Strange, since we all seem to recall that Ivicke being uninhabited is what led to it becoming unpresentable in the first place.

The fact that it is a house, that it has largely been used as a house, that anti-squat guardians lived at Ivicke for several years under the current owner’s watch, and that many thousands of people are living “illegally” in non-residential (and often state-owned) buildings as anti-squat guardians across the country is apparently irrelevant.

The normalization of actual offices and other business premises as anti-squat housing – operating in a ‘legal grey zone’ – demonstrates that Ivicke’s designation as an office is incidental; a handy bureaucratic tool the municipality can choose to use or disregard, depending on their interests at any given time. [Read More]

Madrid: The High Court of Justice rules that the eviction of La Ingobernable was illegal

The Madrid High Court of Justice (TSJM) ruled on two appeals filed by La Ingobernable in June and November 2019, confirming that the Madrid City Council did not have the legitimacy to carry out the eviction but claiming that “the damages are not irreparable”.

Bitter victory for Madrid’s neighbours. Justice agrees with La Ingobernable and shows how partisan interests are above legality and the common good. The TSJM ruled in favour of the Social Centre La Ingobernable, arguing that “the Madrid City Council lacks legitimacy” over the eviction that took place on 13 November 2019 in Calle Gobernador 39.

La Ingobernable denounced that “the City Council did not have the legitimacy to initiate and process the eviction process because there was a current assignment to the Ambasz Foundation and in any case they should have initiated the procedure through criminal law” explains Naomi Abad, lawyer from Red Jurídica who filed the appeal with the TSJM in June 2019. “The administration was perfectly aware that they did not have the legitimacy to do so and yet they ordered the eviction procedure. [Read More]

The Hague : Short Stay? No Way! Nothing’s over, we’re just getting started!

Today, Monday the 8th of June, we left the building at the Waldeck Pyrmontkade 872 (WP872) in The Hague. After a month of occupation as a protest against the planned construction of luxury short-stay apartments in the Zeeheldenkwartier, the Court of The Hague has given permission for the eviction of the building. We have therefore decided to leave the building within the aforementioned period of three days, not out of good-will nor out of understanding, but with our eyes looking at the future.

The squatting of the building on the Waldeck Pyrmontkade was a first step in the fight against short-stay apartments and gentrification in The Hague and in the Zeeheldenkwartier in particular. At the basis of this struggle lies the issue of ownership and housing law. As a group we had decided to break ownership and claim our right to live. This is a necessary step since real estate companies do what they want with (potential) homes under the guise that “they are theirs”. We are not talking about private property here, but about ownership, the property right that is going crazy and is unleashing a dictatorial dynamic in many neighborhoods of our city. It is built for profit and not for needs, real estate is a profitable thing. Neighbourhoods are sold out and the houses that are built are sold and rented for the maximum price. The possibilities to raise this issue in an administrative or legal way are almost non-existent. In a courtroom there is little to gain from the start: the judge always judges in favour of the owner, no matter how awkward the situation is. Possession, ownership and corporatism outweigh a fundamental human right, the right of residence. Such a ground is written in the law book, it is written in black and white. A problematic case. [Read More]

Wassenaar: Ivicke Sales Seizure, First Step To Expropriation?

The municipality of Wassenaar is going to court to annul the recent sales of Ivicke by the owner, Ronnie van de Putte, to two of his newly-established companies.

Van de Putte is currently subject to an administrative order from the municipality of Wassenaar to carry out restoration works on Ivicke by July 20. Otherwise, the municipality intends to carry out the work itself and send him the bill.

Thing is though, this bill could quickly add up. And van de Putte isn’t known for paying his debts.

Ivicke’s restoration costs are thought to be around 500,000 euros but this can (and probably will) shoot up once the works begin. Especially since there has not yet been a full architectural assessment.

Kees Wassenaar, the city’s alderman for spatial planning, said the dispute over Ivicke has already cost Wassenaar hundreds of thousands of euros. A spokesperson for the municipality did not want to give an exact overall figure, but the city has incurred around 40,000 in legal costs alone.

These spiraling costs are what led the municipality of Wassenaar to ask the province of Zuid-Holland for help. In response, Zuid-Holland pledged a maximum of 500,000 euros from its monument restoration fund for 2020. We stand against this abuse of public funds for a project that does not meet the criteria set by Zuid-Holland’s own monument restoration policy, where there is no guarantee the money could be recouped, and which does not guard against a new cycle of neglect and decay. [Read More]

Wassenaar: Report on Ivicke’s ‘Emergency Repairs’

In January, following the court ruling stating that the owner must comply with the municipality’s order to carry out emergency repairs, a contractor began the works on Ivicke.

At the request of members of two monument protection organisations, we sent a report (below) to the municipality, with details about how the repairs were carried out. We didn’t receive a response. Instead, municipal officials announced they would inspect the building. We agreed to this and showed the inspectors and the contractor around, pointing out the issues we’d already raised in the letter. The officials barely engaged with us, and merely went around with a clipboard and ticked off boxes. The conclusion of the municipality was that the owner fulfilled the obligation to do emergency repairs. Yay! Win-win for the municipality, who successfully enforced their administrative order, and for the owner, who can keep them off his back (for now). [Read More]

The Hague: Summary of the court case Waldeck Pyrmontkade 872

The court case against the occupants of the Waldeck Pyrmontkade 872 in The Hague took place on the 25th of May 2020. The owners of this building, RE:BORN real estate, had started an urgent court case in a sped up procedure to evict the occupants. They were also claiming an indemnity of 100.000 euro. We had taken the decision to not yield in front of their pressure, and to take on this court case.

RE:BORN’s story was out of its hinges throughout the court case. Although their file appeared impressive at the first glance, a closer look revealed it to be rather hollow. The blueprints, contracts with contractors and renting companies were for the most dating back to two years ago and had been signed back then (although signatures were missing here and there). The ‘plan’ was clearly already there, but was probably on the shelf for 2 years already. As RE:BORN said themselves in an article published by Den Haag Centraal: “we have had to put various projects in the freezer” (23-04-2019). With the documents they delivered, it became clear that there was no emergency in this case. There was also no indication of when the construction would start. There were just a couple of dates summed up, from the past two weeks, to try and prove in this way that the `squatters were frustrating the project´ and so to legitimate the indemnity of 100.000 euro. [Read More]

Berlin: Liebig34 invites to her own court case on Dorfplatz. Chaos instead of an action for eviction!

On 3 June ’20, the eviction of Liebig34 is to be heard in the high-security hall of the Tiergarten court. It is assumed that after two failed attempts, the verdict will be pronounced after all, making the eviction of the anarcha-queer feminist house project more likely. However, the collective does not want to accept this and will continue to resist. Because: The houses, those who need them!
In the past, there have been many attempts to condemn and criminalise our protest against the eviction of the threatened projects in court. They try to keep us small with repression and surveillance. We see this, for example, in the new classification of the Liebig34 collective as “left-wing extremist” by the constitutional dirt and the aggressive and provocative behaviour of the BPE cops day in, day out in the danger zones of this city.
Courts constantly decide FOR the winners AGAINST the marginalized and oppressed in this patriarchal, racist and capitalist system. We have no confidence in this unjust state, which protects fascist perpetrators and acts and decides according to the interests of capital. We stand against this system and never give in.
That is why we create our real version of the verdict and shit on eviction suits and do NOT go to Moabit to the court. We decide against an eviction and that alone counts.
Come on 03 June from 9:00 on the Dorfplatz in front of Liebigstraße34. First there will be spectacles, then brunch.
Also join the actions on June 2nd and show your solidarity with the projects threatened by eviction: decentralized and chaotic! [Read More]

Thessaloniki: Two anarchist comrades arrested

In the early hours of wednesday May 27th 2020, in Thessaloniki, Greece, two anarchist comrades were arrested on an attempt of incendiary/explosive attack on the house of Dimitris Stamatis, the ex member of New Democracy (the Greek governmental party) and now president of the Deposit and Loans Fund.
As Greek media report, the one comrade was seen by civil cops passing by and checking the house in Kalamaria district; then the other comrade was caught at the moment he was going to plant the incendiary/explosive devices. The first comrade was caught a few hours later in Thessaloniki, riding his bike.
There was a big police research operation in the comrade’s house, and also in other comrades’ houses. More specifically, 4 squatted houses in Ano Poli district were thoroughly searched and, furthermore, there were totally 10 comrades prosecuted, who were left free some hours later, as nothing was found against them. [Read More]

Amsterdam: New Policy. No Eviction for Emptiness…

As a squatter in Amsterdam, looking back on the past year is painful. 2019 dealt heavy blows to a movement that didn’t seem capable of much more than taking the beating. The city has lost its largest squats and despite numerous squatting actions, hardly any new buildings have survived the end of the year. What’s more, politicians tried to introduce a law at national level to further criminalise squatters while the media reported time and time again how afflicted property owners are being deceived repeatedly by squatters. To top it all off, the mayor concludes the year with a report on a new policy designed to implement a more rigorous approach to squatting.
There’s not much left to say beyond 2019 having been a rather grim year, making it difficult to paint a hopeful picture for squatting in Amsterdam in 2020.

We look back on a year in which we, above all, lost a lot. [Read More]

London: Squatting, Evictions, and the Coronavirus

Some days after granting a 3-month breather for mortgage payments the government caved to pressure and stated that renters who fail to pay rent will be protected from eviction during the next 3 months. This meant very little to squatters, and as explained later, still means very little to renters.

The Pie ‘n’ Mash Autonomous Cafe was evicted the morning of that same announcement, the same day that the cafe (having closed for safety reasons some days earlier) was to become London’s first Mutual Aid Centre, to complement the anarchist-instigated and autonomously-organised Mutual Aid groups that had sprung up around the city, and now the country. The council (who without a doubt had a hand in effecting the eviction of the Pie ‘n’ Mash) announced the very next day their own initiative of a centre to assist Mutual Aid groups in distribution of needed goods, co-opting the idea to suit their own agenda and save face in the eyes of the public.

Things have not gotten better for squatters by any means in the following days. Multiple evictions have taken place on buildings that have been awaiting bailiffs for weeks, seemingly a rush by owners and bailiff companies to do business in the case that the government prevents them from doing so in the future. [Read More]

Rotterdam: About police actions in Tweebosbuurt

We’ve been silently listening to lots of different people talking about squatters in Tweebosbuurt in the last few days. From the leftist parties supporting squatters and newspapers calling them “heroes of Tweebosbuurt” to far right activists calling them criminals and claiming that they should be jailed or kicked out of the country. We thought that most of what could be said about squatters in Tweebosbuurt has been said. But then Wim Hoonhout, head of communication of Rotterdam’s police, decided to give his opinion on twitter as well, and it says a lot about how this city works: “Anti-capitalists, anarchists and extremists from Europe choose Tweebosbuurt for their actions. Thereby threaten the safety of residents. This requires a strict approach. Police [is] committed to ensuring that safety. Violence must be proportional and subsidiary. These people seek to undermine the rule of law. Leon [a journalist supporting squatters] trivializes their behavior and condemns our action”.

This is important and needs to be analyzed carefully.

Let’s start with squatting: as you might know, squatting is illegal in the Netherlands and was considered a criminal offense. But you should also know that since the 2 December 2010, the state court has ruled that the law forbidding squatting was illegal. Since then, squatting is legally considered as a civil issue, a disagreement of interest between two private parties. It’s not a criminal offense anymore. [Read More]

Athens: Update from the trial for the eviction of Gare squat

Three were the accused at yesterday’s trial for the police operation of the 26th of August 2019, when the new wave of state attacks against squats begun. The charges were those relevant with illegal occupation, in another words the offense to private property, and the new package of prosecutions against squatters which is theft of water and electricity.

The accused, each with their own speech , defended the moral right to the use of an abandoned building for social and political work, on top of the “housing needs” and they denied entirely the responsibility of the charges . They referred to the open procedures, events, political and cultural which Gare squat housed, and to the public bath which was operating daily and in a self organized way by its users , the migrants, homeless and excluded. [Read More]