Prague squat eviction, arrests FWD

Tom Boland (
Wed, 10 Dec 1997 03:11:06 -0800 (PST)

FWD 24 Oct 1997 from <>


PRAGUE (Free Society - PIA ) - Squatters arrested during the eviction of a
squat in Zenklova street in Prague are still being prosecuted for
committing the crime of unjustifiably interfering into the right to house
or flat (article against squatting). Of the original seven prosecuted, the
prosecution of one has been stopped, and another faces indictment, with the
possibility of two years imprisonment. The prosecuted squatters and a
police source confirmed it to PIA.

This is one of the first cases where the state has actually prosecuted
squatters on the basis of the already mentioned article. Bohdana Rytirova,
from the Zenklova squat, and David Lorenc, who worked on the campaign for
Ladronka, had this to say to PIA: "We do not agree with this. Apart from
the legal basis, a criminal action has to have signs of social danger, and
our actions are certainly not directed to endanger the society. The society
faces much bigger danger from the side of the state, which protects the
interests of speculators while people, who have nowhere to live, are put in

The squatting of the Zenklova street house began in mid August 1997, with
police commencing eviction on September 3, at 21:00. As a form of protest,
ten young people climbed on to the roof of the house. During the night,
three of the protestors climbed down after an agreement with the police and
the fire brigade was reached. Police took them immediately to the police
station. The rest of the people managed to escape via neighboring roofs and
yards, escaping police notice. Police took the fingerprints and photos of
all arrested, and added their identities to police files. During the police
action, squatters received active help from the comrades of Ladronka, as
well as inhabitants of the neighboring houses, gypsies especially. The
police, in their turn, received help from a nazi skinhead who tried to
provoke a conflict with the sympathizers of the squatters.
According to one witness, a coworker of PIA, the skinhead was seen talking
to police officers before entering the house with an iron bar. He smashed
furniture and other equipment in the house, and even climbed on to the roof
where the squatters, at that point trying to climb into the neighboring
house through the roof, had been sitting. Police claimed not to have seen
any of that happening, and so did not take any action against the skinhead.

The article about squatting came into effect in the year 1993, even though
it was criticized by a number of lawyers that it unnecessarily doubles
already valid law in the civil rights declaration.  According to the
deputies, this amendment should have been protecting people renting places
against the property owners who were, for example, concreting the house
entrances, and turning off the supplies of water or electricity. But the
article, in its present form, can be, and is, used against squatters as
well. -ank- , 24. October 1997


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