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From: webmaster@schnews.org.uk
Subject: SchNEWS Issue 466 - Friday 3rd September
Date: Thu, 2 Sep 2004 23:52:05 +0100

Ex Grand Banks eviction - September 2004, London

Bank Robbed!

Last Wednesday morning at 5.30 am around forty police and 30 bailiffs smashed down the door of the Ex Grand Banks Occupied Social Centre in Tufnell Park near Camden, London and evicted its inhabitants. The Centre had previously resisted eviction in May thanks to 120 people including many kids from the local school. The police Forward Intelligence Team filmed the event, photographed everybody, photographed notebooks and as much paper based material as they could find.

One of those running the social centre explained its importance "During a period of increasing privatization, gentrification and desire for an easy profit, where community resources are being closed down and sold off by the council, and the closure of youth clubs coupled with the new Anti-social behaviour curfews mean kids have nothing to do and nowhere to go, there is an urgent need to reclaim our spaces from greedy property developers and run them ourselves to meet our real needs."

In a place like Camden where the spiralling price of property means that no ordinary group of people can afford to rent or buy this space, and where many buildings lay empty, squatting seems the obvious practical and political answer - we decided to take back buildings ourselves, rather than fight a losing battle lobbying a council that appears to care less and less about the impact its policies have on people's lives."

The property - an ex-wine bar - had lain empty for over two years before it was occupied and the centre had proven to be one of the most successful community projects for some time, providing a vibrant mix of workshops and skills share from screen printing to radio training, free lunches for students, children's' days, English lessons, and a fair trade café supporting Zapatista communities in Mexico.

But don't worry though, they intend to squat another building soon. In the meantime to find out if there are social centres in your area go to -


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