[Hpn] ALERT: SQUAT evictions in Amsterdam a costly police operation FWD

Tom Boland wgcp@earthlink.net
Thu, 29 Jun 2000 14:00:43 -0700 (PDT)

SQUAT evictions in Amsterdam a costly police operation


Subject: Amsterdam evictions (25-6-00)
From: kraker5800@my-deja.com
Date: 2000/06/28
Newsgroups: alt.uk.squat

On Monday 26th June 2000, the squatters of the Swammerdam neighbourhood in
East Amsterdam were finally evicted by a massive police operation costing
600,000 guilders (180,000 British pounds). We can only presume this was
necessary because 50 people living together communally, running a
non-profit bar and infocafe, creating community garden space from derelict
wasteland - in fact living together as a COMMUNITY - is nowadays considered
just too dangerous and undesirable.

We were treated to a spectacular show of force: -150 riot police (with
batons, shields and tear gas - thankfully they didn't use the gas), -50
plain clothes 'arresting' police, -one bulldozer, -one water cannon, -one
40-metre high crane, -and one helicopter.

Quite an ensemble! But a fantastic struggle was put up full of creativity,
action and not a little bit of daring. After a couple of weeks of trying
legal means to save our homes (during which time we had to deal with
increasing police intimidation), we were finally given one day's notice of
the eviction.

A support action was hastily planned - an occupation of the offices of De
Key housing corporation who own the houses - which was really successful
and peaceful, despite 40 riot police wanting to violently remove us, even
though we were just 20 people, half of whom were lying on mattresses in the
street to show that we were now homeless. We demanded that De Key call off
the eviction immediately and stop their policy of selling-off social
housing to be used as luxury apartments, but they seemed to all go
mysteriously deaf at these suggestions.

All the streets leading into our neighbourhood were barricaded by 7am, the
alarm call was sent out to all the squats in the city, and by 8 or 9 the
streets were full of supporters. The forces of darkness seemed to have some
difficulty getting out of bed however, and didn't arrive until the
afternoon. They arrived to find banners hanging from all the buildings
saying "why privatise when you can socialise?", "no pasaran", "senseless"
and "we will be back". Dozens and dozens of well-aimed paint bombs gave
some bursts of colour to the normally dull blue police vehicles...! After 6
hours the homes were finally evicted - the police tactic was constantly
blasting the houses with water cannon and finally using a sea-container
hanging from a 40-metre crane, filled with riot cops and when landed onto
the rooftops the police spill out of it and then chainsaw their way into
the house...

But the last laugh goes to us - the houses were strangely empty when the
police finally got inside, not one squatter was to be found anywhere!!
Where could they have escaped to and how?? Who knows...

The eviction and action got good coverage in all the national Dutch media,
often very positive and sometimes even understanding the issues behind the

So 50 people are now homeless on friends' floors, but this will only make
us stronger - the CIA infocafe re-opens in a new location this weekend, the
tapas bar will soon follow, and more squats will be cracked!

------ For an archive about the Swammerdam squats (and soon a photo
gallery) see http://squat.net/leeuwenhoek ------

-- LATEST UPDATE!! -- The derelict land that was squatted and turned into a
beautiful community garden over the past few months was completely
destroyed this morning (Wednesday 28th June) by construction workers. They
simply bulldozed everything flat and chopped down all the trees and plants
with chainsaws. Local residents who supported the squatters and people in
the unevicted squats in the neighbourhood are on the receiving end of
constant harassment by builders and security guards even though they have
every right to live their lives in their own

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