Prague squat eviction, arrests FWD

Tom Boland (wgcp@earthlink.net)
Wed, 10 Dec 1997 03:11:06 -0800 (PST)


FWD 24 Oct 1997 from <anfocz@usa.net>
<http://www.geocities.com/CapitolHill/Lobby/6580/news.html>

POLICE STILL PERSUE FIVE SQUATTERS FROM THE HOUSE IN ZENKLOVA STREET

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
jail."

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

FORWARDED from--

                      FREE SOCIETY - P.I.A.
                    Against authorities - for a free society

   * PIA is going to bring information especially on
   activities of Czech radical movements which see
   one of the reasons of the current situation of the
   society in existence of state authoritarian
   capitalistic system. We want to inform people
   abroad about actions of Czech anti-authoritarian,
   anarchist and autonomous groups and
   organizations and about the most blatant cases of
   human rights violation by the authorities. The
   reason is to improve the exchange of information
   with people abroad. There are official
   information sources in our country, but these
   marginalize such activities, or inform
   about them not precisely and inconsistently. There
   is no reliable information channel of the movement
   itself.
   * We are going to offer information service;
   when keeping the basic  rules of journalism.
   News taken from other media will be explicitly
   marked with sign Monitor. In the same
   time we call attention to the fact, that we are
   going to respect special aspects of activities we
   are going to inform about - so e.g. the
   reports are going to be issued only with explicit
   approval of the source, so that the publication
   wouldn't endanger any of the activists or disable
   the activity.
   * We want to make the  political activities
   international, for many of them are impossible
   without effective support from abroad. Informing
   exactly on what is happening, informing in
   time is the first step towards international
   cooperation.  We will appreciate if you use our
   information and we as you as well to inform the
   Czech public on similar activities in your country
   via our agency. Your reports will be publicized
   in magazines which cooperate with F.S.- P.I.A. *Autumn 97

<http://www.geocities.com/CapitolHill/Lobby/6580>
e-mail: <anfocz@usa.net>
mail: F.S., P.O.BOX 176, 110 01 Prague 01, Czech Republic

END FORWARD