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As we predicted in SchNEWS 808, Brighton HSBC weren't too keen too allow people to continue to use the previously empty flats above one of their banks.
On Friday 8th the squatters appeared in court. The merchant bankers claimed the eviction needed to be fast tracked due to the “large amount of currency of high value” in the bank and a “serious concern that a hostage situation could develop”. Top SchNEWS tip for bank manager – armed blaggers don't usually turn up with a mattress, a kettle or a dog.
Unfortunately these heist caper flights of fancy did actually convince the court. While it may not be that surprising that the average bank manager can't tell the difference between bank robbers and homeless people, it appears the judge reached the same conclusion – not only finding in favour of the bank but also granting a high court writ.
Bailiffs and cops arrived at the building within an hour threatening to kick in the door, though the occupants managed to negotiate some time to get their stuff out. Large numbers of police, bailiffs and Camelot anti-squatters* skulked around the perimeter of the property for a few hours after this, though none of them were brave enough to re-enter the yard (which was by this time full of fellow squatters) let alone approach the heavily barricaded door.
When it became clear that the eviction was off for the day around 20 squatters and supporters decided to talk to the manager of the bank below. He briefly came out, told them to phone head office then scurried back to his office. Not particularly satisfied with this level of customer service the mob decided to hang around for a while to play a few games of simon says and occasionally breakout into chants of 'homes not banks'. Many of the police who had earlier attempted to evict the squatters had arrived back on the scene by this point and cleared the bank, though not before it had been forced to close an hour early.
One arrest was made outside the bank for failing to provide details for a potential ASBO. The arrestee was later (unsurprisingly) released without charge. The squatters since opened up new squats and Camelot anti-squatters are now 'protecting' the building – contradicting the bank's assertion that they couldn't have people living above.
*What's an anti squatter? For more on anti-squatters and their detrimental effects on tenancy rights for the most vulnerable check out Carefree Vacant Property (Leegstand zonder zorgen) by Dutch squatter Abel Heijkamp.
Squatted community social centre and veg shop opens in Lewes.
UPDATE: They finally coughed up. After two days of consistent hassling by activists at the Department for Transport earlier last month, during which one person got nicked, the DfT sheepishly released the previously top secret (read: problematic and embarrassing) documents about the Bexhill-Hastings Link Road.
New Squat Law Fails In Court
Anti-cull travellers and squatters plot land seizures.
New squatting law forces homeless to sleep in the cold with lethal consequences.
Since October, Europe's longest, largest 'Postcapitalist land occupation', la ZAD (Zone A Defendre) has been under attack from French authorities who want to clear it and build an airport. Here's another update from 'le frontline'...
German anti-fascists take Berlin on 20th anniversary of comrade Silvio Meier's murder.
UPDATE: The sh*t's well and truly hit the fan since we published this interview last week... Stay tuned for more SchNEWS from the front...