Russia: Violent Squat Eviction in St Petersburg; Three Activists Face 10 Years in Prison

preview_1360053834From Anarchist News:

On 4th February, at around 10pm local time, riot police brutally evicted a group of anarchists, community activists and local history enthusiasts who had been occupying a disused railway station, Warsaw station, in St Petersburg, Russia.

Hearing that the site would soon be demolished to make way for a multi-storey housing complex, the activists had turned one of the last warehouses attached to the historic train station into a community centre, hosting concerts, poetry readings and a photo-exhibition of the history of the station.

The neo-renaissance-style building was built in the middle of the nineteenth century, linking St Petersburg directly with Warsaw, then part of the Russian Empire. Closed as a station in 2001, it was briefly transformed into a train museum, before falling empty. Developers had submitted plans to develop the area in October, despite the fact that parts of the building are protected by conservation law. Furthermore, the city’s unique status as a UNESCO World Heritage Site means that the construction of buildings in the city centre that are out of keeping with the imperial style should be carefully monitored by the government.

In fact, the difficulties of the on-going preservation of historic buildings in St Petersburg became a focus for civic activism in 2006 when one of the country’s largest oil and gas companies, GazProm, announced plans to build a 395-metre skyscraper opposite the historic Smolny complex, once the first seat of the Bolshevik government. Demonstrations were held, a new grass-roots social movement was founded, ‘Living City’, public figures joined the campaign and, in 2010, the project was moved to a less controversial site. Protecting public space from the encroachment of capital runs deep in the veins of this city.

Warsaw Station lies on the edge of the historic city centre and its status as a site of historical and cultural significance had been labeled ‘disputed’ by the city administration. In 2007, however, this status was changed, enabling developers to submit proposals for the site. Currently the non-governmental organisation, the All-Russian Society for the Protection of Monuments of History and Culture (VOOPiK) is investigating the historical value of the buildings. According to the group, 15 historic buildings have historic or cultural significance. However, many fear that the developers themselves could demolish the buildings before the examination is finished: an unexplained incidence of ‘arson’.

So, in early January, activists occupied the last surviving warehouse of the Warsaw station complex. At first its owner appeared not to mind their presence and did not switch off electricity and other amenities for more than a month. However, on the 4th February things changed: at around 4pm activists found security guards ordered by the warehouse owner were attempting to use a sledgehammer to break down the inner wall of the warehouse. A fight broke out between the activists and the guards who then called the police claiming that the activists had been threatening them. Upon the arrival of the police some activists barricaded themselves in the building while others organized a human chain around the building trying to block police access to the door. The final stand-off between squatters and police and riot police lasted more than 6 hours.

Nineteen activists were arrested, with several hospitalized for concussion. The police also sustained injuries during the eviction, with two needing medical treatment for lost teeth and a fractured skull. Sixteen squatters received fines of around €40, but the remaining three are being charged for violence against police officers, an offence which could see them jailed for up to ten years. In fact the speed with which this has been rushed to the courts speaks for the probability of the maximum sentence.

Solidarity with the arrested squatters! Please publicize their bravery as widely as possible! They urgently need funds for legal assistance: to enquire about making a donation or to help get a fundraising action together please e-mail russiaukasn@riseup.net

Finally, although it is unlikely that the penetration of Warsaw station by private capital will evoke such a huge public outcry as the GazProm project, the battle to save it has certainly put the site on the map. Videos, articles and photo reports of the eviction have flooded Russian media over the past day – both at local and national level – and, although the squat itself might be gone, the snug relationship between city capitalists and local government is once again in the spotlight. The developers will no doubt have a long, hard road in front of them. It is a crime that three individuals may have to pay such a high price for their defence of social justice.

Photo reportage of the eviction: http://lenta.ru/photo/2013/02/05/squat/#0

Squat blog (in Russian): http://spasisohrani.livejournal.com/

video (in Russian) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hAcslamlh4U

source: https://avtonom.org/en/freenews/violent-squat-eviction-st-petersburg-thr…

Update on Amelia Nicol

Anarchist prisoner Amelia Nicol had her sentencing hearing today, October 1st, in Denver County Court. She had been found guilty on August 21, 2012 of Criminal Trespass, Assault on an officer, and Resisting Arrest. All charges stemmed from a raid on an alleged squat in the Jefferson Park Neighborhood of Denver in October of 2011.

Amelia was sentenced today to 2 sentences of 1 year imprisonment each, both ordered to run concurrently. She was granted time served of 345 days, and the judge ordered that she could be released immediately, pending meeting and intake into probation, of which she is to serve 2 years.

It is our understanding that Amelia will be released by tomorrow afternoon.

Any further updates will be posted once we get them.

Occupy Oakland: 300 arrests, several injuries as demonstrators attempt takeover of abandoned community center then besiege Oakland City Hall

From Capitalist Media:

OAKLAND — Police arrested about 300 people Saturday as Occupy Oakland protesters were thwarted trying to take over a vacant convention center and a YMCA but later broke into City Hall, where they burned a flag taken from inside.

Police used tear gas and “flash” grenades in the afternoon against 2,000 protesters who tried to tear down fences around the vacant Henry Kaiser Convention Center, where they hoped to establish a new camp. Police said some demonstrators started throwing objects at officers. There were at least 19 arrests in the afternoon.

After 6 p.m. (9 p.m. ET), police in riot gear declared a group of protesters gathered near the YMCA under mass arrest for failing to disperse, according to local media reports and livestreams. Police said about 100 demonstrators were arrested at the YMCA.

Full coverage here.

Seattle: Water House Squat evicted

From The Stranger:

As Central District News reported, police last night raided a house at 19th and Spruce, arresting three men for charges including “Criminal Trespassing, Property Damage and weapons violations. Other criminal charges may be forthcoming.”

According to the SPD’s account, the raid was in response to a 911 call that afternoon that alerted them about “multiple male and female subjects who had unlawfully entered and occupied a residence. …Preliminary investigation indicates that the suspects entered the house and subsequently damaged the interior of the house with graffiti. They also left garbage, open containers of food, and were cooking inside the house on a portable, gas-operated stove.”

The house had been bought out of foreclosure in August by Mountaincrest Credit Union, according to CDN. The way the CDN story reads, the house was under renovation and the occupiers were interrupting progress and damaging it—and they’d broken in.

But that story doesn’t match what I learned in a meeting just now with two of the 10 or 12 occupiers who had been in the house for about two weeks. Continue reading

10/24 Update on Squat Raid Arrestees

As of 11pm on 10/24/11, two of the arrestees have been bonded, though they will be released sometime tomorrow morning after a meeting with pre-trial services. Since they are facing felony charges, they may be fitted with ankle bracelets or some other monitoring device.

Amelia Nicol has a bond hearing tomorrow. She was not in court today, as she was transferred from the hospital to the jail this morning, just several hours before court started. Her hearing information is:
Tuesday 10/25
10:00am
Room 2300
Van Cise-Simonet Detention Center
409 W. Colfax downtown Denver

Please attend this hearing if you are available.

Jonathon’s bond situation is a little more murky, as he was arrested last week during the eviction of Occupy Denver, and thus has some other bond stipulations this time around. We need to get more money and collateral together to be able to bond him out.

Immediate needs:
-Money for bond. Please contact denverabc@rocketmail.com. Amelia’s bond is expected to cost us between $350-500 through a bonds agency.
-Court observation
-Volunteers for DABC’s legal operations

Contact us if you can help!

More information as it comes.

Solidarity!

Italy: 4 occupations searched, 3 people arrested and others to house arrest

Spain solidarity demo with Italian arresteesFrom Turin, Italy via Informa-Azione.info
Waiting for news, we communicate that, around 6am of the morning, the digos (political police, ndt) has searched many occupations (Asilo, Barocchio, Mezcal, Askatasuna) and houses, arresting three people, notifing some house arrests (it seems they’re 4 people) and to others, the requirement to sign in at the local police station. The repressive operation it’s a revenge for the riots occurred on the first eviction of L’Ostile, the restricted measures are emaned by PM Rinaudo. There’s a public assembly today afternoon at Mezcal Squat to organize future iniziatives.

For live updates listen to [also in streaming] Radio Blackout, 105.250FM in Turin.

Attestation of Asilo Squat:

At six of the mourning digos and forces of police came in front of Asilo Squat: “It’s for a notification” they said to the occupant, that came after police intent to brake down the front door. In fact is not a simple notification, it’s a search with arrest of one of the occupant, and we actually don’t know why they arrest him, with what charges and without knowing if and when he will be released.

Police and digos have braked down many doors with hammers and metal bars, insulted and jostled the occupants, guilty of reluctance to open the door to the police.

Same searches are happening in Barocchio and Mezcal Squat, other two occupated places in Grugliasco and Collegno, and in private houses.

The hypothesis is that all the matter is about riots occurred at half december in Turin, followed the eviction of the occupated place L’Ostile.

While we write, the police is going out from Asilo, and in the meantime they’re searching in Barocchio and Mezcal Squat.

Statement spread by http://www.tuttosquat.net:

Turin, 12nd may 2010

This morning, at first light, the digos of Turin police headquarters have searched the occupated houses Asilo, Barocchio and Mezcal, the social centre Askatasuna and private houses. The scene is about the eviction of the occupated space L’Ostile in Corso Vercelli, happened the 10th december 2009.

The restrictive measures beats 16 friends: 3 arrested people, one lives at Asilo. 4 with the house arrest, of whom a boy and a girl living at Asilo Squat. 9 with the requirement to sign in at the local police station daily.

SOLIDARITY TO ALL THE PEOPLE AFFECTED BY REPRESSION

This evening, 12nd of may, at 7:00pm we discuss about it at Mezcal Squat

SWAT team raids Toledo foreclosure defense league, 7 arrested

STONY RIDGE, OHIO — At about 6:30 Friday morning a special response team from the Wood County Sheriff’s Department took battering rams to the doors and windows of Keith Sadler’s foreclosed home and arrested the seven activists inside. (video of pre-dawn raid!! http://www.ustream.tv/recorded/6739863)

Since Sunday afternoon, Sadler and six others had been locked in the home despite an order of eviction after members of the toledo foreclosure defense league barricaded themselves in sunday.

Protestors had been sitting outside the home calling for a moratorium on all foreclosures but in a classic nuremburg defense Wood County Sheriff Mark Wasylyshyn says he had a job to do.

The Toledo Foreclosure League disagrees.

“The Sheriff responded in heavy force with guns drawn, riot gear, as if the peaceful people inside were going to do anything. They cut the power already, in a very dangerous and irresponsible way–we got it turned back on–it’s been a very heavy-handed response by the police,” said Lance Crandall.

The seven activists were arraigned Friday afternoon on misdemeanor charges of trespassing and obstruction with strict orders not to return to the property.

“I’m proud of these kids, I really am. I think they’ve taken a stand for what they believe in. The middle class is being destroyed. These banks have been bailed out numerous times and they haven’t given us any breaks,” said John Kutsch, father of one of the arrested people.

Toledo Foreclosure defense league says that despite these arrests, they will continue to advocate for housing rights.

Updates from TFDL on their ustream site are expected within the next few days