report from Amsterdam

Update – 23 July 2011 As far as we understand, 6 people remain in foreign detention. A campaign has been launched to support them – this is the blog: 5th of July Solidarity

Update – 9 July 2011 A number of people, about 12 remain in custody. These are being held in immigration detention on suspicion of not being legally allowed in the country. This is due to an activist strategy of not giving details and remaining anonymous. The original arrests for many of these people were pretty equivalent to being arrested to ‘apprehend a breach of the peace’. They couldn’t be held this long unless it was for the harsh immigration detention. This of course means that squatters and other activists now have a natural affinity with migrants and the struggle against borders. There is no theoretical limit for how long they can be held.

This is just a brief note, but I’ll add to it later.

Just been released from detention after the mass arrest at the eviction of Sheinheilig this morning. Don’t know exact figures, but 120+ has been mentioned. Many people are still inside.

Evictions in Amsterdam currently take place in waves with riot police evicting a number of squats on the same day. Sheinheilg was a cultural centre and had decided to resist eviction by holding a party out the front of the building and filling some of the rooms inside with foam. The logic seemed to be that as lots of people involved in the project weren’t used to full on confrontation and the police were up for anything a broadly ‘non-violent’ approach would create the best atmosphere. unfortunately the police didn’t get the memo about being non-violent and the result was partly tragic.

There must have been a couple of hundred people out front when the police arrived at maybe 7 am, with more around looking on. In full riot gear the police made the way to the crowd and immediately started hitting people. The street was cleared in 10 minutes or so and then around the corner vans were driven through the crowd, the resistance to which appeared to be the pretext for then organising ‘snatch squads’ to burst into the crowd to try to pick people out. Only one attempt took place and involved about 8 macho pricks piling into the crowd and throwing punches. They managed to get one person, but seemed to give up and then decided to arrest the entire crowd.

The brutality of the Dutch police is very visible as an outsider, but in truth is nothing particularly more extreme that British police. It seems that different police forces have their own etiquette, but the insanity of the overall project is very familiar.

So, a number of squats were evicted today. The exact number I don’t yet know. Amsterdam has laid down a marker that these evictions will be resisted and I highly recommend interested people head down to join in. The city has a huge rich history of squatting and is currently enduring a full-on criminalisation. We must remember that the previous tolerance of squatting, as with most of the conditions of ordinary people, was won by struggle.

*addition* we now have a campaign group called kraakverbod solidarity, with a dutch phone – +31 61 68 79 133

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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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