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Right on SchNEWS’ doorstep, Brighton’s dirty squatters have had one of their more exciting weeks recently.
It all began on Monday 23rd January or 'Mayhem Monday' – Some happy squatters hanging out in their new home are violently evicted by thugs, and dragged out onto the street. Police took their usual stance that violence by ‘the good guys’ isn’t really violence, decided that no crime had taken place and went on their merry way, leaving the squatters still sat on the street.
Tough Tuesday – The newly homeless look sad and look for a new home to lay their heads and stroke their dogs.
Wanted Wednesday – Police slightly confused by a large garden wall between them and some squatters suspected of househunting. The cops threaten to drop their dog over said wall, unless the squatters came out nicely. After showing off their wicked climbing skills, the squatters were arrested for vagrancy (see Crap Arrest).
Threatening Thursday - A newly squatted social project in the works is visited by an estate agent and his hired goons. They gracefully try and kick down the door, smashing windows and being generally thuggish; a passing PCSO (once encouraged into action) calls for backup and the Police politely move the goons to a pub around the corner. Squatters decide to rethink the entire social project, as they generally do better when all involved don’t have to physically defend their homes at all hours. Meanwhile, two nice squatters knock on a door on London Road. So ridiculous it has to be true, a police officer promptly turns up and started raving about criminal damage, and cuffs the two confused squatters. The words “I well recognise you” weren’t actually said but feel free to read between the lines. A stop and search takes place and backup is called. The new police officer slightly calms the situation after it’s clear the squatters were actually (just) knocking on what happened to be the wrong door. Meanwhile the first copper starts talking about how he was bullied as a child, and eventually it’s agreed that the two squatters can leave.
Fuck Off Bailiffs Friday – Typical morning for one group of squatters, birds singing, brews a brewing and um, poles driven through your windows. As you stand looking through them. This particularly violent eviction was again accompanied by it’s troop of boys (and girls) in blue, who were ready as ever to arrest left right and centre. The eviction crew then marched along to the next squat, a long term, privately owned empty, which had a more peaceful air, although the eviction crew did smash up sinks and toilets on the way out, ensuring that any future occupiers were up shit creek in terms of sanitation. They also managed to squeeze in one more eviction before the end of the day, undoubtedly feeling well pleased with themselves.
These coordinated attacks perhaps mark an increase in intelligence in Brighton’s finest evictioneers. Whilst squatters usually encounter a few weeks of wondering after court when they’ll be turfed out, very recently we’ve seen many squats having the same court dates and same (close following) eviction dates, coincidence? Meanwhile squats are seeing more surveillance, more high court bailiffs acquired quickly after a magistrates court trial (much like another recent high profile eviction), and more cops seemingly under the impression that squatting is already a criminal offence.
Although all the squatters have now found new squats, the shit will no doubt hit the proverbial fan once again, and the plight for autonomous homes goes on.
More updates from Calais No Borders Network
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
In solidarity with 235 Sussex University workers whose jobs are threatened with privatisation, protesters from around the country converge on Sussex University's campus (alread site of an ongoing occupation), invade management HQ and make a bonfire out of corporate files.
Anti-cull travellers and squatters plot land seizures.
A staggering five convictions out of the Met Police's largest ever mass arrest during the Olympic Opening Ceremony.
New squatting law forces homeless to sleep in the cold with lethal consequences.