Date: Tue, 07 Nov 2000 12:00:44 -0000
Subject: [act-locally] Think Globally 39 (November 2000)
On 1st November Newcastle's first political squat in decades was evicted. About a month ago a motley band of local activists found their way into an empty building on Pilgrim Street, site of a grotesque corporate 'leisure' development planned for the next few years, dubbed Electric City. The shell of what was once the Children's Warehouse, a vibrant local resource centre, was within days transformed into well, another resource centre. The difference was, the people running Eclectic City had no permission to do so and weren't about to wait for it.
In spite of the total lack of small luxuries like running water and electricity, the building rapidly became a focus of activity. It was soon a free food café, a music venue, a recycling point and a temporary home for homeless people.
Several hundred people have passed through Eclectic City's doors and most are happier and better folk for having done so. The only people not satisfied (even the local papers seemed to like it) it seems, were corporate nasties NCP and Gallagher, lease holders and prospective developers respectively.
'Persons Unknown' from Eclectic City were taken to the High Court after less than a month of occupancy, and in spite of strong, articulate and self-conducted defence, an eviction order against them was granted. If the owners aren't using the property, it seems, no-one else can either. Newcastle will lose a valuable community resource and will gain, in a few years' time, another bland, expensive and unnecessary development.
As the Sherriff and his hired thugs gathered at the front entrance of the building, occupants draped banners from the upper stories to cheers from protesters outside. Press photographers flocked to take pictures of 'Squat or Rot', 'Homeless people's Need before Corporate Greed' and other slogans. As the bailiffs prepared to force an entry, squatters made a timely exit some out of an upper window at the rear, and some into an empty building next door. 105 Pilgrim Street, their new home, is also owned by NCP.
Date: Wed, 01 Nov 2000 11:56:51 -0000
Subject: [act-locally] Eclectic City eviction and new life
Eclectic City Eviction
Cheeky squatters from Eclectic City were today evicted from 109 Pilgrim Street, Newcastle upon Tyne, only to move next door straight away!
The High Court Sheriffs did turn up this morning at exactly 10:30 (as they said) to find three people barricaded inside. Bemused bailiffs arsed around and eventually got in through a back window. Somehow the 3 squatters that were inside had disappeared. All that was left was a massive banner on the front declaring the fate of the building: "Squat or Rot!"
While all this was happening, a new banner appeared out of the next door property: "Squat the lot"! Some of the people involved in the project, who really don't have a home, have taken up residence in the flat above the guitar shop next door.
Squat the lot!
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