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Autonomous Library squatters expand into public house business.

Eviction papers were served to the group occupying The Bohemia Pub, in North Finchley on Thursday(31st) requesting their appearance at Barnet County Court on Monday(4th).

The Bohemia Community Project are hoping to reclaim the pub for the community by working on a co-operative bid for the lease of the pub, that amounts to £80,000 needed to lease the building each year. So far the group have managed to raise £26,000, which is not too bad considering the Bohemia Community Project re-opened its now squatted doors on the 27th September. The group have opened it up again to the whole community, giving the empty pub a new lease of life. They have been running a series of workshops and events such as salsa dancing, yoga and film nights.

Following the court proceedings on Monday, the squatters are still hoping to reach an agreement to occupy the building. Deputy District Judge Joshi adjourned eviction proceedings for two weeks, until November 18th. According to a statement sourced from an article on the squat network Pete Phoenix, a representative of the group, said the group was surprised to receive the court summons. The group was having good communication with the pub's owners, Mitchells and Butlers and the property agent Colliers. “We have had a good working relationship with them and had been showing around some prospective tenants. This summons came out of the blue and we were a little taken aback.” That was until the administrators, Chantrey Velacott, for the watering hole stuck their oar in and applied for the order despite the continuous talks between the occupying group and the owners.

The Bring Back the Bohemia campaign group aim to make use of the empty space which could benefit the community as a whole and highlight the democratic deficit Pub Companies create. At the moment in the UK 27 pubs close down a week. The group argues that this destroys “the last havens of free speech, debate and social cohesion, the same is happening all around Europe, making it ever harder to socialise within communities and fragmenting further the already very divided people.” Their aim is to “knit together the community and empower the local residents with various social activities (such as theatre, dance, singing, game workshops, kids activities, knitting, cinema, cabaret) to gain democratic control of their public spaces and their lives.”

You can follow the group on ourbohemia facebook page. Residents have been invited to get involved by either visting the pub or emailing them thebarnetbohemians@gmail.com

More updates to follow when court proceedings recommence.

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Twitter: @SchNEWS