Sunday, May 31, 2009

Sick of cops. Sicks of locked out squats.

As i was typing the last blog entry about getting some photo's up of our squat and it's ad-hoc mastery; the very squat i was typing about was being evicted! This was not your normal Sydney squat eviction. Generally things will go down one of two ways.

  • The owner will show up, surprised to find someone living in their wasting house, feign some outrage and ask you to leave. Either immediately or within some time frame they see as reasonable or...
  • The owner will show up with the police and do more of less the same thing; ask you to leave or give you abit of time.

But this was not to be the case for our Stanmore squat. Unfortunately Stanmore falls within the jurisdiction of Newtown Local Area Command, if anyone has had any dealings with these unpleasant folks you'll know why this is a problem.

On Saturday morning a few hardened criminal squatters were waking up, making small talk, sharing stories and cooking some pancakes when interrupted by a knock on the door. Without delay, the police arrested everyone within the house, regardless of whether they lived there or not. Loaded them into a paddywagon and left for the station.
When they arrived at the station they were detained for 45 minutes in the back of the wagon, then moved inside where they were separated and held for four hours. They were then charged and held in solitary confinement for a further two hours before being released on bail. All were charged with trespass which is unheard of among Sydney squatters.
All this for living in a house that had been empty for a decade, and will lie empty for another.

While the police response may seem unusual - and it is - it turns out that the kind of overreaction seen is only to be expected from Newtown Cops; those arrested were told by someone giving legal advice that the arresting officer had once stopped a man who was pushing a bicycle home, breath tested him and charged him with drink driving! To know that these kind of sociopaths have been granted amazing powers over our lives is either frightening, infuriating or both.

Although not all is lost. While our little crew has been physically broken up, we're still looking after each other and taking care of each others things. I've since moved into the most breathtakingly large squat i have ever heard of, we're in negotiations with the owners to arrange a caretakers lease and if all goes ahead and we're legalised then our crew will be back again, causing all sorts of nightmares for police, such as living in an empty building.

If you know someone who is taking direct action to better their life and the lives of others, and that person is not interested in perpetuating a system of exploitation then call crimestoppers on 1800 333 000 - Pigs Need To Know.


Rosie Lewis said...

Hey Liam,

My name's Rosie and I'm a journalist student at the University of Technology, Sydney.

I'm wanting to pitch a TV story which links to Nationalist Alternative's pamphlet on helping local Aussie's find homes in the inner-west.

Found a blog comment of yours and thought you'd be a good person to talk to!

Also just interested in what's happening in the squatter community at the moment - has it changed since global financial crisis began?

If you could contact me on my e-mail - - with a number I could contact you on for a chat (which could later lead to an interview) that would be great.

Ideally I'd like to talk to you early this week, so if you could get back to me today (Monday 10th) or tomorrow, that'd be sweet.

If you have any questions about the story just ask!