David Mandl on Fri, 13 Aug 1999 19:49:48 +0200 (CEST)

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<nettime> Fwd: Longest squat in London is over - 121 raided 12/8/99

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>       A - I N F O S  N E W S  S E R V I C E
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>     Six sheriff's bailiffs, assisted by
>     a special-ist armed police force,
>     entered the 121 Centre in
>     Brixton's Railton Road shortly
>     after 6.30am and successfully
>     removed the seven remaining
>     illegal residents.
>     The centre, which has drawn
>     worldwide attention since
>     residents barricaded themselves
>     in to resist eviction more than
>     seven months ago, was set up in 1981 as a collective.
>     Lambeth council has attempted to evict them on a number
>     of occasions, but until today its actions proved fruitless.
>     At the last attempt, police were met by a demonstration of
>     nearly 70 protesters who blocked the road and set up
>     barricades inside the building, which also acted as an
>     advice centre for squatters as well as a cafe, party venue
>     and printing office.
>     Occupants had organised a highly efficient campaign from
>     inside the three-storey building with the use of a website
>     and newsletter circulated among supporters, who included
>     anarchists, hunt saboteurs and other radical issue
>     campaigners.
>     An emergency siren and internal defences with
>     easy-to-assemble barricades were also used to maintain
>     occupancy.
>     However, there was no sign of any resistance from the
>     small group of residents woken this morning, and the
>     building was vacated in minutes.
>     One squatter, Tom, 22, from Norway, said residents had
>     become disillusioned with efforts to keep the centre open
>     since police attempted their last eviction in February.
>     "It was so aggressive and people just kind of gave up. But
>     they won't be able to secure the building and people will
>     try and enter it again." Tom says he will move to another
>     London squat. He described today's raid: "They forced us
>     out of the building. There seemed to be two groups and
>     the first one came through the windows on the second
>     floor. They did not even let us put our shoes on."
>     The council said staff had prepared themselves for a fight,
>     with more than 150 police officers standing by. It had,
>     however, been a success, he added. "It was very
>     successful, with everything happening very swiftly."
>     The bailiffs, with the specialist unit, entered the
>     brightly-coloured building through windows on the upper
>     floors, Chief Inspector Martin Bagg said. They met with
>     no resistance, he added.
>     Lambeth leader Jim Dickson, who was once the victim of
>     an office raid when 30 protesters from the centre stormed
>     his council room, said: "We are systematically clearing up
>     the borough and dealing with the legacy of the past. Our
>     action today sends out a very clear message to the
>     squatters - the council will keep taking action over
>     squatted property until there is none left."
>     However, Kuru, a 24-year-old squatter from Brazil, said:
>     "What the police and the council are doing is just adding to
>     the problem of homelessness in London. But they won't
>     succeed in stopping us from squatting because we'll just go
>     elsewhere."
>     The building, which is being cleared of the occupants'
>     belongings, will be auctioned.
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