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From: "Jo Makepeace" (webmaster@schnews.org.uk)
Subject: SchNEWS 635, Friday 13th June 2008
Date: Sat, 14 Jun 2008 08:22:06 +0100

English squatting round-up - June 2008


The International Days of Action for Squats and Autonomous Spaces, which took place on the 11-12th April, saw a flurry of squatting activity across the UK, with new spaces established and a range of events taking place (See SchNEWS 628). The Days of Action, which emerged from the international squatters meeting in Dijon last year, saw a variety of creative forms of resistance, ranging from a Reclaim the Streets in Wellington to a bicycle tour in Rotterdam and theatre performance in Athens (see http://squat.net/en/news/april2008world060508.html for the full round up). Squatters and community direct action groups in Britain demonstrated the resurgence of a networked and politically active squatting movement, marked by the national squatters meeting that took place in Leeds in February. During the weekend in April, eight cities across Britain saw city-centre buildings occupied - some just for the weekend, others are still going...

It will come as no surprise to regular SchNEWS readers that these spaces have received special attention from the authorities, as the boys in blue continue their quest to dispose of positive, non-corporate community jaunts. The former Wilco building in Cambridge, squatted to provide a cinema, caff, and activities space, was raided by armed police after a 'tip-off' from a neighbour on the pretext of looking for illegal drugs. After a thorough search, Cambridgeshire's finest uncovered a supermarket trolley, and the Mill Road social centre lives to fight another day. It will host a welcome meeting tonight (23rd) at 7pm.

Meanwhile, in the capital, the space opened for the days of action has at last taken the revolutionary step of giving itself a name. The Bowl Court social centre in Shoreditch attracted mainstream media attention for their Squatters Estate Agency and, despite customary threats from the building's owners, intends to carry on its good work. Check http://bowlcourt.co.nr for the latest.

The last few weeks have also seen spaces fighting back against court orders, with the sacrosanct possession order being resisted in London and Brighton.

The WominSpace, off Mare Street in Hackney has, over the past three months, hosted welding, stencil-making and herbal skill-share workshops and held a regular café and meetings space. The first eviction attempt was thwarted with the help of the North East London Squatters Network, but on the 9th May their luck ran out and the space was evicted.

After successfully defying police and bailiffs last Monday (see SchNEWS 632), the 88 London Road social centre, a former Methodist church in Brighton, remains fighting and has been hosting a regular 'free kaff' on the street outside. Clearly peeved, Brighton's police have vented their frustration at anyone else unlucky enough to be squatting in the city, with three illegal police evictions carried out in the last ten days.

* If you fancy joining in on the community spirit, look for an empty building in a city near you! Check out http://www.squat.net and http://www.squatter.org.uk for inspiration, information and advice.

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