Tuesday, 7 July 2009

Squat heavy

At the top of this photo (as viewed from Kitchen Sink Neighbour's squat) is the boarded-up home of the recently removed Polish family. If you squint real hard, you may be able to pick out a human figure standing up against a wall.

What we thought was a squatter enjoying the brief spell of rain hurtling at us this afternoon turns out to be a lookout for a squat opening. That new squat being, the ex-Polish family abode.

The squatters have gained access through the roof hatch of their squat which is next door. The lookout is there to keep an eye out on the security patrol. Once we realise what he is doing, we too start to do our bit, by also keeping watch and letting other squatters know of the action taking place.

It doesn't take long to gain access, although the guys are in need of boltcutters to crack the D-lock around the outside railings. It isn't until around 10pm that the security guards become aware of the break-in. They also call in the cops, four of whom are now up on the gangway trying to protect the flat.

Joining them, however, are squatters from all across the estate, each of them arriving to give the squat some support. I'm counting about 30 of us, all quietly turning up and forming a crowded group on the landing, chatting amongst ourselves as though we're in a queue for a gig.

Amongst the cops, we spot a couple of guys later identified as "the fake squatters". That is, plains clothes police dressed as squatters who also drive a sleek black car. Once the police arrive, the security guards step back, returning to their vans to shine flashlights in our direction. According to Kitchen Sink Neighbour, their pleas of "we need to stand with our comrades" (aka the cops) had apparently gone unnoticed, by both the squatters and their 'comrades'.

It is really heartening to see this organised action taking place... it's almost like an impromptu get-together, part resistance/part how's it going. After 30 minutes of the cops not getting their way, they decide to leave, to huge cheers from the squatters.

Here's a shaky photo of the cops chatting with the security and the fakes post-win.

Over a spicy rice supper, Kitchen Sink Neighbour and I later talk about the whole shebang of the day and the implications for our squats and this particular block of flats.

Meanwhile, the photo below (and taken today) updates you on the progress of the flat Sitex'ing, in this case with Darien House, the block opposite to ours.