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SchNEWS revisits ZAD - the anti-capitalist land occupation in France for an interview with an activist.
Word is that the ZAD eviction has turned into a 'military occupation'- is that how you'd describe it?
It really is impossible to see it otherwise. There are between two and eight vans of military police blocking the crossroads at the end of the road where I live 24 hours a day, forcing me to squelch through the muddy fields in my wellies to avoid them. the last time I had the audacity to ask (politely of course) why I couldn't cross the road and what they were doing there, I got a face full of pepper spray. The police appear to be gradually applying more and more pressure, strolling ever closer to the barricades and further from their vans. In all honesty, they seem to be trying to make themselves at home.
What's happening with the evictions and reoccupations?
There's been no actual evictions for a long time, and plenty of building. Many of them are really well-built and insulated, with little burners inside and pretty cosy. Around a week ago a farm was left by its occupant (who was not exactly a friend of ours) and immediately squatted. There are big hopes for farming collectives to take over this space and start new projects there. Most people were surprised it wasn't immediately evicted and razed to the ground, as in the past that has been common after we open new squats. However for the moment it is still there and it seems promising... only time will tell.
How are the numbers? What is the situation with the police?
I'd say right now we're between 100 and 200 but it fluctuates so much. I feel sure that another eviction would send people flooding back... I hope so! In all honesty though we have a lot of communication problems between us and it's really exhausting for the people who live here. It's so important we try and resolve that before calling out for lots more people to come and resist.
There have been some arrests... Especially scary is that people seem to often be arrested despite not doing anything much apart from being too near a cop who felt like arresting someone. Some of the sentences have been harsh too, especially being banned from coming to the ZAD - that seems to be their favourite. Many people have been given between a year and five year bans from returning to the zone. Having said that it goes in waves to some extent, and I still wouldn't say that huge numbers of people are being arrested. There's currently one person serving a prison sentence, and many with suspended sentences. I don't have the exact figures but it must be at least twenty.
Pro Patria (For Fatherland), a new far-right group with seasoned members, raise their ugly head in the Netherlands with a demonstration announced for the 20th September in the Hague.
Mass squatting action in metal recycling plant pulled off in style, after brutal policing leaves hundreds of undocumented people without shelter.
Immigration rights activists descend on Harmondsworth and Colnbrook detention centres to bring a message of solidarity and resistance.
The US and the EU are negotiating a new trade agreement – TTIP – which amounts to the biggest transfer of power to corporations seen in recent years.
Amsterdam squat evicted in gentrification battle.
Mass evictions of migrants in progress now
We started writing about three interesting but unrelated things happening in June. Here is an amalgamated version, which is worth a read.
Re-occupation of the Hambach Forest, near Cologne in Germany, where activists occupy and fight the expansion of opencast mining.