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Southern Squatting Shenanigans

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.

There are 3 comments on this story...
Added By: A non - 12th February 2012 @ 7:15 PM
1. is police make an unreasonable request, or 'instruction, one is not bound to comply
2. if police, bailiff or any other neredowell tries, or assaults an individual, they have the right to exercise self defence, using the minimum force required
3. i sincerely hope the people involved in the above incidents who have been abused by the police, bailiffs and any others, sue those responsible. if they don't why not?squatting should be defended, & there are many ways to do so, including legal action aginst the perpetrators of abusing squatters
Added By: Jo Makepeace - 13th February 2012 @ 12:51 PM
The first of the three evictions on Friday was robustly resisted. Though this did result in two arrests. One of these received a caution for assault police, assault of a bailiff and obstruction of a bailiff. While she probably would have got a not guilty had it gone to trial they decided, on legal advice, to accepted it. The other arrestee is now on bail for assault police and section 5 public order (swearing). So we'll update on that if and when it goes to court.

Despite all the bluster from Mike Weatherley and other dicks in government - what little legal protection there is for squatters is regularly ignored by the police and courts. I can't remember any attempted (let alone successful) prosecution for an illegal eviction, yet they happen constantly (1 and a half in the week above alone).

Often squatters don't help themselves by not pursuing legal action when they have been fucked over - though usually with good reason whether ideological or just because they are more concerned with finding a new place to live.
Added By: Anonymous - 10th March 2012 @ 6:23 AM
schnews, carry-on the goodwork. lets squat the lot...i mean factories they re delocated them all so lets move into them...
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Twitter: @SchNEWS