Utrecht: Derelict buildings squatted out of housing shortage and protest against vacancy

Since last weekend, a group of young people have been living in the long since vacant houses at the Burgemeester Reigerstraat 48-53 in Utrecht.

The occupation is both a direct approach to a need for life – the young people are looking for housing – and a protest against the current housing policy. The action, part of a national wave, criticized Squatting and Vacancy Act from 2010 and the intention to tackle squatting even harder. “The residents are of the opinion that not squatting, but vacancy and housing shortage must be tackled”, according to a spokesman. The buildings on Burgemeester Reigerstraat have been vacant for more than five years. Owner Marcel Paping plans to demolish the four buildings and build four new buildings and retail space in their place. A parking garage is to be built under the buildings. He has the permits for his plan, except for the entrance to the basement. Many neighbours are of the opinion that a large underground car park will seriously disturb the peace and quiet in the street. Paping plans to nail up the empty buildings if the Municipality does not grant him all the permits. Half a year ago, the buildings were also squatted. Then the police went on a wrongful eviction. “Hopefully this time the police will be wise enough not to go for the owner’s trolley and go the right way”, says one of the squatters. [Read More]

Utrecht: Squatting during national day of action – police proceed to unlawful eviction

The national day of action against the ban on squatting was also held in Utrecht today. A group of squatters has just added the vacant building at Reactorweg 164-172 to the housing stock. Help with the occupation is welcome, so come along!

The building, owned by De Waal Beheer, has been empty for quite some time now and plans for use by the owner seem to be lacking. While the CDA and VVD in their own-initiative law are working on new legislation to protect property owners even better against squatters, this action shows that squatting is still the only effective means for people searching for housing to combat vacancy. [Read More]

Greece: Why is the state attacking Exarcheia?

The Greek state’s long anticipated attack on the rebellious district of Exarcheia began with the eviction of four occupied spaces and a provocative and dangerous attack on the social centre K*Vox. Since the return to power of right-wing New Democracy in the July elections the move has been expected and a difficult struggle lies ahead for Exarcheia and the anarchist and anti-authoritarian space in Greece. The short-term fixations of New Democracy and the right explain the police operation but the attack on Exarcheia is part of a deeper desire by the state draw a line under its decade long crisis and declare total victory.

New Democracy have their own reasons for the attack on Exarcheia.1 While in opposition they raised the right’s traditional banner of ‘law and order’ and helped by a cooperative media painted a picture of a society spiralling into lawlessness. None of this was true, after all SYRIZA evicted occupied centres and refugee solidarity projects as well as sending the riot police into the neighbourhood and against demonstrations countless times while one of SYRIZA’s final campaign rallies for the July elections was attended by prominent police officials. Still the new Prime Minister Mitsotakis repeatedly threatened to ‘end’ Exarcheia while in opposition. That the refugee and migrant occupations were targeted first along with other announcements that the government will speed up deportations demonstrates that an anti-immigration agenda will be a priority. This reaffirms New Democracy’s connections with the far-right despite the liberal ‘centrist’ presentation of Mitsotakis. [Read More]

Greece: We stand against state repression

The state and capitalism continue to target the freedom of the social base and appropriate its labour and resources. In recent years we have experienced some of the most violent attacks on this freedom through the mass impoverishment of the already oppressed and exploited. At the same time, a widespread social resistance and solidarity movement has formed. People have created a variety of self-organized spaces such as housing infrastructures, social medical centers, community kitchens, open parks and public spaces. In spite of setbacks, the movement has created a solid social ground and accumulated considerable knowledge and experience. Through squats, political groups, base unions, squares and neighbourhood assemblies we have formed communities of struggle with strong social bonds. Communities oriented towards society, with a critical eye all the same. At times, the movement has had to use violence as a means of defending and expanding free spaces against state repression, capitalist interests and fascist attacks. It is a movement that grows in diversity and vibrancy, despite the ongoing criminalisation of solidarity and mobility.

In the context of this socio-class conflict, on Monday 26/8, the state, armed with police forces, seized Exarchia and evicted four squats. Two of these squats were migrant homes—Transito and Spirou Trikoupi 17, from where the police abducted 144 migrants, uprooting them from their places of residence for a second time and isolating them in what the state calls detention centers. Evictions were also carried out in an ongoing housing and political squat in Assimaki Fotila street, and the Gare squat, where three arrests were made. [Read More]

Greece: First they take Exarcheia…

Recent evictions of several squats, some housing refugees and migrants, mark the beginning of a new chapter of repression and dissent in Greece. In the autonomous Athens neighborhood of Exarcheia on the morning of Monday, August 26, hundreds of masked riot cops with tear gas at hand cordoned off an entire block. Overhead, helicopters circled the scene.

No one would be blamed for thinking a civil war, or worse, was about to erupt. But no, the Greek state led by the new conservative government was mobilizing its full repressive armada to evacuate several squats occupied by refugees and migrants. Theorist Akis Gavriilidis weighed in:

This affair is a scandalous waste of public funds, for a result that is not only zero but negative in every respect: moral, legal, practical, economic and whatever you can imagine. To detain dozens of refugees — including children — who have committed no crime, to evict them from places where they have lived a dignified life they have helped to shape themselves, with the only prospect of being imprisoned in a hell where they live in much worse conditions, forced to passivity and inactivity. [Read More]

Athens: Demonstration on 14th of september. Solidarity will win!

[an update on the repressive campaign by the state and call for international mobilizations in solidarity with the squats and the anarchist movement in Greece]

At dawn on August 26th, strong repression forces evicted four squats in the neighborhood of Exarcheia, arrested three squatters and detained 143 refugees and immigrants. While men, women and children refugees were piled in police vans by the armed hooded men of the Special Repression Counter-Terrorist Unit, institutional fascism released its ideological propaganda through the media: a representantive of Greek Police compared the repression forces to a “vaccum” of new technology that will wipe out from Exarcheia “the disturbing dust”, the refugees and immigrants, and afterwards the real “trash”, the anarchists, announcing the continuation of the repressive operation and their declared target.

The recent police invasions are a first manifestation of the repressive campaign, announced by state officials, against the anarchist movement, the squats, the self-organized structures of housing immigrants and refugees, the world of solidarity, social and class resistance in general. A repressive campaign that consists the spearhead of the state and capitalism’s attack on the plebeians of society, aiming to terrorize them and neutralize resistance, in order to proceed uninterruptedly to the onslaught of state and capitalist brutality. The elections of July 7th marked the continuation of the imposition of suffocating living conditions for the workers and the unemployed, the imprisonment of immigrants and refugees in concentration camps and the deaths in the borders, the intensification of the looting of social wealth and nature, the attempt to establish the state of emergency. The government of New Democracy is building on the attempted neutralization of social and class struggles and the tens of repression attacks against squats during the administration of Syriza, promising to crush the people of the struggle – to all those that have stood and are still standing against the plans of the authority. [Read More]

Greece: Exarcheia under police occupation!

Alert! What we have been announcing to you for a month and a half has just begun this morning, just before dawn. Athens’ famous rebel and supportive neighbourhood is completely surrounded by huge police forces: many riot police buses (MAT), anti-terrorist untis (OPKE), police on motorbikes (DIAS), members of the secret police (asfalitès), as well as a helicopter and several drones.

A unique place in Europe for its high concentration of squats and other self-managed spaces, but also for its resistance against repression and its solidarity with precarious and migrants, Exarcheia has been in the sight of the right-wing government since its election on 7 July. The new Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis had made it a personal affair, especially since he had been mocked in early August for failing to achieve his goal of “cleaning Exarcheia in a month” as he had announced with great fanfare.

This morning, 4 squats were evicted: Spirou Trikoupi 17, Transito, Rosa de Foc and Gare. The offensive currently concerns the north-western part of the district, with the notable exception of the Notara 26 squat, which is considered better guarded and very symbolically important for the district as the first historical squat of the “refugee crisis” in downtown Athens. [Read More]

Bologna (Italy): The bulldozers of the Partito Democratico against XM24

The bulldozers of the PD of Bologna against XM24, the historic social center of Via Fioravanti, active for 17 years. After years of threats, at dawn on Tuesday August 6, bulldozers, armored vehicles and dozens and dozens of uniforms showed up to clear the XM24. The declared objective of the mayor PD Merola’s junta is to gentrify the area, between students for money and other real estate operations, cloaked in the usual rhetoric of “decorum”. Inside and outside XM24 there are hundreds of solidarity workers, to defend the experience of self-management of the social space.

5 p.m. – The activists who have been resisting the eviction of the XM24 since dawn this morning are still on the roof. Gradually, the other people who were inside the building went out and joined the garrison that is still in progress in the parking lot near the social center. In the meantime, the workers continue to work quickly to demolish most of the structures inside the building and take away the material. The destruction of the garden also began a short while ago. It began shortly after 15.30, after the meeting at the police headquarters between a delegation of the XM24, the city councilor for culture, Matteo Lepore and Valerio Montalto, general manager of the municipality. [Read More]

Pisa: Galeone Occupato has been evicted

On 30 July 2019 has been evicted Galeone Occupato, located at via Lucchese 65, in Pisa, an anarchist squatted building existing since 26 May 2017. A huge deployment of law enforcement, along with the fire brigade, arrived near the building at around 10.30 am. Following the raid, a comrade was arrested (later released) and another comrade barricaded himself on the roof of the building in an attempt to resist the eviction as long as possible, while comrades in solidarity arrived nearby. Finally the Galeone was evicted after a few hours.

Eleven people were notified of investigations with allegations of abusive occupation, theft of electricity and damage to Enel (company that manages energy supply) cabins. With reference to these investigations, the public prosecutor had initially requested the obligation not to enter the city (“foglio di via”) with the obligation to sign to the police station for a certain period. [Read More]

Cologne: Elster230 evicted

– Police evicts Elster230 with large contingent
– Brutal police action
– Simultaneous eviction of squatted house ZentraleM in Münster
– Occupants announce demonstrations today in Cologne and Münster

This morning around 9am, a large police contingent forcibly invaded the Elster at Vogelsanger Str. 230 and evicted the self-governing queer feminist center.
The police’s actions were extremely brutal. In a different way, we observed, in addition to the measures of fixation mentioned above, that a person was tied up with cable ties and brutally dragged across the Lidl parking lot to a police car. There are several people with injuries and we saw that civil servants kneeled on the activists backs for a very long time, while the activists were already lying on the floor with their faces fixed.
In the middle of this scenario, Mrs. Windischmann (Head of Region West DB Real Estate) did not let herself miss the opportunity to enter the house and thus demonstrate her power. With this relentless eviction, the 1,5 week revitalization of the previously vacant property is abruptly ended. [Read More]

London: Call out for a noise demo in solidarity with Barcelona’s war on gentrification

On Monday 8th July at 8.30am, activists will gather in front of Blackstone offices at 40 Berkley Square in London W1 J5AL for a noise demo to show solidarity with Barcelona’s residents fighting against gentrification.

Blackstone Group, a New York based multinational private equity firm and the World’s largest alternative investment company*, is the biggest property and hotel owner in Spain. The firm, along other large companies such as Goldman Sachs, Apollo Management and Cerberus, have been buying tens of thousands of residential properties in Spain and then raising rents and evicting thousands of long-term tenants to make space for richer and more “desirable” residents: or just leaving homes to rot empty while their value increases. [Read More]

Madrid: CSOA La Gatonera evicted

First of all, we want to thank all the people who have shown their support and solidarity, especially the collectives, spaces and individuals of the neighborhood. Thanks to the support, we have managed to resist more than 24 hours at the door and hold a demonstration and a parade that hopefully has made it clear that we are still here and will continue to fight.
It has been at least a year since the beginning of threats and coercion by the new owner and his watch dogs (private security companies). There were threats to get an eviction squad after refusing to accept their money (15.000 euros) to leave the building. Seeing that they couldn’t bend us, they started the legal way to evict us. The sentence for the usurpation trial was not favorable to them, and they were still in a situation of appeal. [Read More]