73 Bethune Road, 24th June 2011

Update – No. 73 was eventually evicted by 75 TSG riot cops using a pneumatic battering ram. We’ll post more details when we get around to it!

Upon arriving at 73 Bethune Road it is impossible not to be impressed by the level of barricading to be found.

Every potential entrance had been secured with ingenious techniques that should be taken to every squat. From the outside the building gives the impression of a fortress with primitive-looking wooden spikes sticking out of upstairs windows to prevent ladders being used effectively. Going inside the feeling of security is continued with doors being secured in several ways to prevent a number of different entry tactics.

It is not hard to see how they had already successfully resisted eviction once before.

Some of us were lucky enough to stay the night before the second attempted eviction on Friday. Several more friends joined in the morning and a tea station was set up outside with a sound-system playing resistance music out of the window.

At around 9.30am a van from Hackney Homes parked outside and the front door was secured with several squatters inside, more outside and a few on the roof. A line of cops on bikes arrived shortly after and stayed on the opposite side of the road speaking to bailiffs and passers-by. The authorities were obviously intimidated by the resistance again and made no effort to enter the building.

After about an hour of nervous-looking bailiffs and police eyeing up the building and squatters relaxing eating cake in the garden, one cop came to let squatters know that he “may be lying” but there is a warrant for the building and they should expect eviction later that day or on another date. The police hung around for a little while after to make it clear that they still exist before cycling away to The Final Countdown and cheers.

The atmosphere afterwards was upbeat but occupiers are still aware of a potential threat and welcome support to keep day-to-day resistance strong. I also recommend going to see what is possibly the best barricading in London at the moment.

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About housolidarity

We call for a radical housing movement as part of broader solidarity against austerity and an end to all evictions. housolidarity@gmail.com
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