Switzerland: Call to support the ZAD de la Colline

In Switzerland, a few kilometers from Lausanne, the multinational cement company LaFargeHolcim seeks to expand the exploitation of the limestone quarry which consumes and attacks the Mormont hill. The quarry’s expansion threatens to engulf the hill’s protected forest, its unique biodiversity, its history and the cultivated lands which it is home to. The company is no stranger to such aggressions. Its involvement in over 120 cases of environmental and human rights violations is currently documented in 34 countries.

The Birette plateau is an area of precious biodiversity. It hosts an atypical flora comprising several protected species, including rare species of orchids. It is also of crucial archeological and historical importance. Furthermore, the extracted limestone participates in the colossal CO2 emissions produced by LaFarge Holcim and the cement sector, which is responsible for 12% of the global CO2 emissions. Holcim Switzerland is the company producing the most CO2 territorial emissions in the country.

Since the legal recourses submitted were unable to guarantee the termination of the project, the occupants of the Zone à Défendre (ZAD) de la Colline decided to block it in order to defend the hill’s biodiversity, local farming, cultural patrimony and, more broadly, the climate against the concrete industry. Through their physical occupation of the site, they oppose corporate land-grabbing, the rampant exploitation of resources whose transformation and usage is detrimental to the environment, health and human rights. Additionally, this ZAD seeks to understand and combat the socially and environmentally destructive system of which the company’s extractive project is a part.

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Pully: imminent eviction from the Spyre

Destroying life to create emptiness: imminent eviction from the Spyre, an ecological and committed squat in Pully, Switzerland. Here is a press release from the Collectif Bambou, living in a squat ecologist and engaged threatened with eviction in the commune of Pully. We would like to highlight the social and ecological issues raised by this situation.

Have you already heard about the Spyre? On an immense green field in Pully, a large villa and its annex is home to a whole world: colorful, lively, communal. For nearly three months now, the Bamboo Collective has been living and bringing these places to life with ecological and solidarity-based ways of life. The occupied buildings were empty, left abandoned since the plot was bought by Dune Capital SA, property developers wishing to raze them to the ground to build twelve new luxury buildings. This huge project had aroused about twenty opposition from the neighbourhood, and the building permit has not yet been issued. “Welcome to our world, the one we build in the dustbins of theirs. We used to live a bit hidden, busy living, creating and fighting, but today here we are, sharing with you what they are about to demolish: our desires, our creations, our houses, our living hope of another world” expresses a resident. [Read More]

Winterthur: Zensur, a new occupation for a social centre

We occupied the building on Talackerstrasse 99 this Friday evening. After it has been vacant for more than 3 years, we want to bring life to the former Sulzer office building and establish a social and cultural center.

The building is currently “owned” by Implenia, which is a driving force in the development of Winterthur into a “City of the Rich” with major projects such as LokStadt and the gentrification process of Hegi.

With the ZENSUR we want to create a space that enables people to implement projects without a lot of money. So that everyone can afford to be creative, do sports, show films and organize discussions. Every person should be able to contribute to the ZENSUR with his or her suggestions and skills to fulfill and realize their wishes and ideas collectively. [Read More]

Zürich: new wagenplatz taken

Today 31 july, we have taken the space between Bernerstrasse, Aargauerstrasse and Depotweg to create a wagenplatz here. A home is now being created here, a non-commercial place where we want to live in a self-determined way. We also want to give a strong signal against the expulsion of the middle and low-income earners from the quarters and the city centre, which is actively driven by the city.

Zurich West now resembles a Lego landscape consisting of overpriced apartments, hotel complexes and office buildings. Living in the city is becoming increasingly expensive, affordable housing is scarce. The city of Zurich is actively driving this development, as was made clear with the example of the Juch eviction to make space for trucks to turn around.

We are not fundamentally against parking lots and trucks, but we do revive them! [Read More]

Zürich: Juch resists! New occupations

This evening June 20th, Grimselstrasse 18 and 20, Saumackerstrasse 67 and 69 have been squatted. The squatters* took these spaces in response to the Juch eviction on 23rd May.

If you evict one space, we* will open a new one!

Exactly one month ago today, the Social Department of the City of Zurich filed a criminal complaint and subsequently had the Juch area evicted by a large contingent of the Zurich City Police. This is only because the neighboring stadium construction site of HRS Real Estate seems to need more space to turn its trucks around and thus expand its empire as quickly and profitably as possible on behalf of the city. Marco Cortesi (spokesperson for the Zurich city police) also stressed in an interview in front of the freshly evicted area that the main thing now was to immediately make the area uninhabitable and then guard it with private security forces. Even the left-wing parties of the city of Zurich complain that it is extremely questionable and inappropriate to destroy residential and cultural spaces for a building site installation, and wrote in a jointly published media release: “For us it is clear: the demolition of buildings for the use of an area as parking space is unacceptable. Although no meaningful use was promised and a shady deal between the city of Zurich and HRS was settled without any transparency, the squatters* had to leave the Juch area. It cannot be said often enough: This is outrageous from the city of Zurich! We are furious! [Read More]

Lausanne: Occupation of a building to accommodate homeless people

On Friday May 29th at the end of the day, during the Critical Mass, we occupied the Place Bel-Air 4 building in downtown Lausanne with the aim of creating a place of welcome for people in need of housing, but also a place of solidarity, convergence of struggles, culture and sharing. The Municipality gave the order to evict and the building was emptied a few hours later by the police, but this event will be remembered and reminds us that autonomous, supportive and resistant places are more than ever necessary.

With the end of the lock down, Lausanne has reduced the number of housing units for the homeless. Friday’s occupation was made in response to the Sleep-In Association’s Appeal 212, which asked to do everything possible to ensure that the 212 beds that were provided during the coronavirus period would be maintained all year round, thus meeting the real needs of homeless people in the Lausanne region. The covid-19 pandemic has shown that many emergency measures can be put in place quickly and that immense financial resources can be found to support the economy and save multinationals. Why don’t we see a similar mobilization for climate emergency and social justice? [Read More]

Zürich: Juch area evicted

Statement on the planned eviction of the Juch area.
Thursday May 21st.

The city of Zurich maintains its ultimatum regarding the Juch area. Tomorrow, on Friday, May 22, 2020, at midnight, the squatters must leave the Juch area; otherwise the police will threaten the violent eviction announced by the city.

But there are still no reasons for the eviction. Although the city, under pressure from politicians and the people of Zurich, gave a “reason” for the eviction of the Juch area during the last eviction threat of one month – the space would be needed for building installations by HRS Real Estate – there is still no evidence that this justification is tenable. Neither the public nor politicians have any construction plans from HRS Real Estate which indicate that it actually needs the site right now for the construction of the adjacent stadium. Only a few months ago, there was talk of a long-term interim use of the site, mediated by the city. [Read More]

Basel: One year Elsi!

Since 11 April 2019, the houses at Elsässerstrasse 128-131 have been occupied. A lot has happened this year, a lot has been built, painted, talked, celebrated, quarrelled, loved and above all lived. We were able to experience great encounters, conversations but also important criticism. We hope that the Elsi will be able to welcome you again soon, until then we will bring you a small update!

Update about the squat
All good things come in four – that is our motto. Because it worked. In the end, the fourth squatting action was successful. The buildings have now been blusting for a year, with living space and an autonomous centre. At the moment, the monument protection authorities and the government council are clarifying whether the houses should be put under protection. We very much hope for a positive decision, because it would not only preserve one of the oldest rows of houses in St. Johann, but also a community and an exchange platform. [Read More]

Zürich: Hands off Juch! It won’t be evicted for the time being!

Thanks to political pressure and solidarity from various sides, we have succeeded in preventing the plans of the property management to evict the Juch area, which are hardly to be surpassed in their lack of transparency and arbitrariness, for the time being. We are pleased about this and thank you for all your support. However, this is only a one-month postponement until May 22, 2020. The reasons for the initial secrecy on the part of the city regarding the plans for the area may have become obvious now.

In a press release issued by the Social Department of the City of Zurich on 24.4.2020, it is stated: “Due to the cramped conditions on the building site, the general contractor (HRS Real Estate) commissioned by ZSC is interested in renting the neighbouring site (Juch site) from the city for around 2.5 years until the end of construction for building site installations.

Two and a half years of building site installations instead of living and cultural space is the worst joke we have heard in a long time. [Read More]

Zürich: Another vacant house occupied

On Wednesday April 22nd, another vacant house was occupied in Zurich in order to provide people in precarious situations with a safe home and protection against the corona virus.

Already last week, friends from us with the same goal, squatted some houses. Not much has changed since then, so our concerns are still the same. The lockdown still hits hardest those for whom the circumstances were already difficult before. Many people are currently looking forward to the easing of the measures, have locked themselves in or isolated themselves. Others speaking out social-darwinist phrases or conspiracy theories. The last clapping for the hospital staff has silenced and the gift fence is empty. The word “solidarity” remains as the empty phrase to which it has deteriorated. But there are still people among us for whom the lockdown has led to constant stress and who could not deal with the virus in their own way, like we did. Our solidarity belongs to the people who have so far escaped the coercive measures but who have it harder than ever. We want to live solidarity and stand with them. [Read More]

Zürich: mobilisation and call for solidarity

While the city is being bombarded with the slogan “Stay at home. Please. Everyone.” calls for people to hide in their own homes, the squatters from the Juch are given an ultimatum of 4 days until they are kicked out on the streets.

So, in the shadow of the Corona crisis, people are driven from their homes and cultural freedom is destroyed. This happens without giving reasons, announcing plans nor showing a building permit. The last weeks have probably caused some wet dreams among authoritarian forces and so it is not really surprising that a hard wind is blowing against us right now. Nevertheless, we are speechless about the impudence of the city government, which on the one hand rambles about solidarity and at the same time imposes completely counterproductive, repressive measures against a left-wing project. Last Saturday, the Corona argument was used to try to nip the pandemic-proof demo “Safety for all refugees” in the bud. Although all the precautionary measures recommended by the Confederation are being implemented, it is not possible in this city to take to the streets during a protest. However, it seems justified for the Social Department to put residents of a squat on the streets without giving any reason? [Read More]

Zürich: Juch eviction threat

On April 20, we received mail from the city of Zürich regarding the possible uses of the Juch site. The letter from the Department of Social Affairs informed us that Juch is to be prepared for potential future use from Monday, April 27. Reconstruction and demolition work is also scheduled to begin on April 27. Thus we, the squatters and users of Juch are requested to clear the area by midnight on Friday April 24. So we are supposed to clear an area within four days which we have built up over half a year.

The city of Zürich is calling for the evacuation of the area with the slogan “Stay at home. Please. Everyone” the population to stay at home. The people who live here have no second home. Their home is the Juch-area. If Juch is evacuated, there will be several dozen people who have no place to go to protect themselves and others. [Read More]