In response to the Government's moves to criminal squatting in residential properties people gathered in Bristol on Friday to protest against the passing of the Legal Aid Bill. Around 30 to 40 protesters meet outside Metropolis on Stokes Croft (another empty property, which if the Government has it's ways, would be left to rot in the interests of property speculators). Comrades from The Red & Black Umbrella in Cardiff even came over to Bristol to join the protest!
At 2:30PM people set off down the street, taking the road and displaying a banner which read: "Whatever They Say, Squatting Will Stay!"
We successfully blockaded the road for the entire protest, moving down Stokes Croft, past BRI, down Park Street, through Broadmead and after a quick scuffle with security in Cabot Circus ended up in Castle Park where we ended the day in the sun. The Police paid little to no attention to the procession though we were accompanied by two PSCOs the whole time (who's attempts to keep people from blocking the road, failed miserably).
Several people expressed their solidarity either through honking their horns or joining the demonstration. We know that this demonstration won't be enough to reverse the criminalisation of squatting that has already been put into motion. We need to build a strong movement to combat their attempts to make illegal our way of life. We need to create strong solidarity networks, responding to evictions and helping fellow squatters out with potential court cases and fines and possible imprisonment!
One thing that is important is that we do not allow the criminalisation of squatting to be the end of the squatting movement in Bristol (or the UK)! We need to take ques from our comrades in Europe and elsewhere around the world where squatting is already a criminal offence. We need to keep squatting, keeping resisting and keep building our movement despite what the law might say.
There will be another demonstration two weeks from now, on Saturday 14th April. Assemble outside Metropolis, Stokes Croft at 1PM! Bring banners, placards, megaphones, sound systems & anger! Spread the word!
WHATEVER THEY SAY! SQUATTING WILL STAY!
FUCK THE LAW, SQUAT THE WORLD!
FIGHT THE ANTI-SQUATTING BILL!
AGAINST THE CRIMINALISATION OF HOMELESSNESS!