UK Free Spaces Feature Archive
The Hovefields Gypsy/Traveller site in Essex has been evicted this week. At the time of writing, a group of these families are still on the road without anywhere to stop, having been also evicted from two other sites they tried to move on to, all within 24 hours. In fact it is illegal for them to stop anywhere as a group, as they are more than six live-in vehicles.
The Crown Court cleared three activists of the charges of "obstructing the police" on Friday.
The Inner London Crown Court ruled that police surveillance of a public political meeting had not been proved to be lawful and that the police had failed to provide any evidence that they were pursuing a "legitimate aim". The three activists were arrested at a meeting called by London NoBorders in June 2008 when they protested against the surveillance of the meeting by "Forward Intelligence Team" - Report.
80 days ago the democracy village set up on parliament square. Now it has gone. After losing the court hearing on 16th July (press release), and sending a call out to stand up for democracy, the eviction started just after 1am on Monday night. The public square was fenced in and democracy out (pics | video), and the two people in D-locks couldn't stop this. No one was arrested, but calls were made for a day of non-violent direct action today and a people's assembly this Saturday 1pm.
See the democracy village newswire at
The appeal by Democracy Village after last week's High Court ruling will be heard at 10.30am this Friday (9th July) at the appeals court. In the meantime the camp is still going on strong, having started 'Operation Rolling Thunder', more – an ongoing programme of non-violent direct action. The village is calling out for people to come down and help on multiple fronts: to come and do actions, to help with the site, keep it tidy and maintain the gardens. There is a particular call-out for those with direct action skills and experience.
The Africa House squat in Calais is to be evicted next Wednesday (9th). After a herd of 20 CRS vans circled the squat scoping the site on Wednesday morning (2nd), they deposited an eviction notice with those present, informing the migrants they had a week to hit the streets. The building - home to Eritrean, Sudanese and Ethiopian migrants, many of whom had already seen previous squats and camps destroyed - has been marked for demolition.
The JB Spray squat in Radford, Nottingham is under threat of eviction. The occupiers, who have been in the building since May 2009, have been served with notice of a court date for 3rd June. The landlord is intending to gain a possession order and make homeless the many people who have been living in the building for over a year. The occupiers have stated that they intend to resist any attempts to evict them and are asking people to support them.
The former lace factory, which was empty and unused for many years, has been occupied and used for social and community purposes a number of times in the past. On previous occasions squatters were evicted quickly. This is the first time that people have been able to settle and make a proper home in the building.
Those wanting to help with resistance to the closure of this free space should call 07817493824 or email jbspray[at]hotmail.co.uk.
With the national elections less than a week away, Mayday celebrations to remember the Haymarket massacre of 1887 (and in support of worker's movements internationally) took place in many towns and cities across the UK. Despite that fact that the authorities had banned the planned march in Coventry, a spontaneous event took place marching from the Council House to Millenium Square, with a No Borders slogan reading 'Asylum is not a crime' at the head of the procession. In Nottingham, hundreds joined a procession which managed to overcome the City Council’s bureaucratic machinery. Several hundred people joined a march in Chesterfield and 400 braved the rain for Dublin's march which ended with a speech by Arthur Scargill. In Bradford people gathered on Infirmary Fields and in Manchester up to 200 joined a march, and enjoyed a firework display, and in Edinburgh about 100 joined a rally at West Princes Street Gardens.
In London, trade unionists and Communists marched from Clerkenwell Green to a rally in Trafalger Square. The four horsemen of the apopcalypse, last seen out at the G20 protests last year, were central to the 'Election meltdown' which saw effigies of party leaders dragged from their party HQs to Parliament Square for public execution, before an estimated crowd of 500. While some stayed to set up a Demockracy village in the square, many others were led to a tunnel by the samba band, for a Rave Against the Machine.
Bristol eco-village set up camp this week with huge support from the local people and activists from all over the country. The off-grid urban community kicked off last Saturday (17th) on a patch of waste land in St.Werburghs previously notorious for fly tipping, arson attacks and hard drug users.
"It's rapidly becoming obvious that this is a nationwide issue - somehow the police have got it into their heads that music and dancing are bad for society. They've used the licensing laws as a weapon." - Strawberry Fair organiser
In what is fast becoming a summer tradition, yet another gathering has fallen victim to party-pooping police tactics. One of the UK's last free open-air festivals has been cancelled under police pressure. Strawberry Fair, in Cambridge, viewed by many as the starting gun for the festival season, has been stopped in its tracks after 37 straight years. Some (on Facebook at least) are vowing that some kind of festival will go ahead anyway.
With the threat of development on Titnore Woods fast approaching now is the time to rise up and resist the destruction of our natural environment by corporate greed.
Campaigners have been camping in Titnore Woods, in resistance against the development, since 2006.
West Durrington Consortium, which consists of Persimmon Homes, Taylor Wimpy and Heron Homes could be given the go ahead to build a 1250 home development and a road in the new year. Previously the consortium had planned to build 875 homes. The project is estimated to cost over 3 billion pounds to build and take 6 years to complete which is utter madness when Worthing is reported to have over 1000 empty buildings! If the development goes ahead West Durrington will no longer home a semi- ancient woodland with its rich diversity in rare species, flora and fauna or its surrounding farmland but a massive housing development, road and a giant Tesco.
The long planned, public occupation of a derelict, University of Sheffield owned, listed building as a progressive social centre lasted less than a week after the Sheffield establishment moved swiftly to evict the squat. Despite the short stay a lot of political activity took place in Pisgah House and the collective have now moved on to 10 Northumberland Road [photos] and the events that were planned for Pisgah House will now take place there. However a trespass hearing which took place on Wednesday 14th October was followed by another eviction, one week after the Northumberland Road building was squatted.
The case that the University made against the Pisgah House occupation was overtly political, they were unable to cite complaints about noise or disruption to the residential area or damage to the building to justify the eviction, rather they claimed that the occupation would give a bad impression to political dignitaries; "there are plans for a number of University Open Days and a visit from the Leader of Sheffield Council and senior Liberal Democrat Party politicians including Lord Ashdown and Nick Clegg during October. The University has concerns that these could be disrupted by the occupation and events stemming from it and a very bad impression given to visitors of the University. This could affect student numbers and University revenue in the future." In The Star coverage The University said that "We regret the fact that at a time of cost savings, valuable university funds were required to take legal action", which is very ironic since the article ends with "£5m Revamp of students union building: Page 13"...
UPDATE: The Sheffield Social Centre has relocated. Pisgah House was vacated on Wednesday 7th October after a Possession Order was granted at Sheffield County Court. The day before the University of Sheffield was granted an injunction which they then used to start court proceedings for possession. The social centre was given notice of an injunction hearing at 1pm for a hearing at 3pm the same day. At the 3pm hearing the judge agreed to postpone the hearing till 10am on 7th October.
On Thursday 1st October a new squatted social centre opened in Sheffield on Pisgah House Road in Broomhill. The press release from the collective who opened it up states that the "social centre is a non-hierarchical, anti-capitalist space based on a number of core principles which reflect the world its organisers want to see: co-operation and mutual aid, openness and inclusion, voluntary participation and shared responsibility." There are lots of events planned, including a Sheffield Activist Network Open Meeting on Monday 5th October, see the full event listing for details of all events.
Squatters have once again returned to the JB Spray Factory in Radford. The occupiers, a loosely formed collective currently going under the name “Squat Lobster,” have been occupying the old lace factory since late May, and have been working on the building ever since.Residents of the squat are keen to encourage more people's projects and ideas within the space and are welcoming people who want to pop round, stay round or set something up and use the space!
On the newswire: Grot Vs Squat? continued Nottingham Council inaction on empty properties | Beyond Borders weekend | Discussion on Public Services | radical discussion: education - weds 24 June, JB Spray | Squatters in the JB Spray Building, prevent water company from cutting them off | J.B. Spray: Squat Lobster's First Event
Previous features: Nottingham's Old County Hall Occupied | End of the Road for ASBO | Spring Into Action Now! | J B Spray Building Occupied / Evicted / Reoccupied | YES, we're open ! | Abandoned for over 7 years... | New Squatting Project in Nottingham
After being inspired into action by the fight against global climate chaos, the Scarborough Climate Action group have opened "Green Planet", a community resource centre for education, information and participation on the east coast of Yorkshire.
They aim to provide a central point for people in the local area to find out how they can make positive changes to their environment, as well as providing an autonomous space for people to use the internet, meet like-minded people and get directly involved with the newly burgeoning Scarborough activist networks.
Students who had been occupying a lecture theatre at the University of Nottingham have branded university authorites a "national disgrace" after they were violently evicted by university security. Around 10 security staff used force to remove the occupants into the snow outside. Students were forced to wait in the cold and only alowed in one by one to pick up their belongings. They were forced to give ID in order to be allowed entry.
The occupation of B62 in the Law and Social Science Building at the University of Notttingham was today violently evicted by university security. The occupation which has been taking place since Wednesday is in solidarity with the people of Gaza and is one of a wave of university occupations which have taken place across the UK following the recent Israeli assault against Gaza. Although the occupiers have been clear throughout that they had no intention of disrupting other students' education, the university had refused to follow the lead of Kings College in London and negotiate with the occupying students.
Previous Feature: Nottingham university occupied in solidarity with Gaza
Newswire: Eviction video & post occupation statement from Nottingham Uni | Nottingham University Gaza solidarity occupation violently evicted 1 | 2 | Nottingham Gaza solidarity occupation violently evicted | Nottingham University Authorities: A National Disgrace
Recent Gaza Demonstrations: Nottingham Gaza Emergency Protest 1 | 2 | Gaza Public Meeting at Bobbers Mill Community Centre | Nottingham Gaza Protest 'candle-lit' Vigil 1 | 2 | Nottingham Gaza Protest March Through Nottingham to Market Sq 1 | 2 | Nottingham University Students Occupation in Solidarity with Gaza 1 | 2 | Gaza support protest at Nottingham BBC | Tash's 'Collected' actions Piccys 2009
Sunday saw the opening event of a new centre for anarchist education and culture in St Ann's. The Sparrows' Nest, named after local anarchist publication The Nottingham Sparrow, hosts a large collection of material on anarchist theory, local struggles and workers' struggles. The Sparrows' Nest is largely the work of local Anarchist Federation members and was inspired by a squatted infoshop in Ljubliana and similar projects in Carrara, Italy.
At the opening a selection of pamphlets and books were on display in four sections: The Classics (of anarchism), Neither Left or Right (referring to anarchism's opposition to fascism and the authoritarian left), Work (workers' struggles and the struggle against work) and Anarchy and Action in Nottingham. People were also able to watch films and browse the extensive library.
Newswire: The Sparrows' Nest - A centre for anarchist education and culture | Sparrows' Nest Anarchist Library & Archive, St Anns : opening event | Rebel bulletin The Nottingham Sparrow - March 2008 - No.3 | 'Rebel' bulletin - The Nottingham Sparrow - May 2007 - no.2 | New 'rebel' bulletin - The Nottingham Sparrow - March 2007 - no.1
The past few months have seen a number of bad news stories for Nottingham's community centres. The Chase Neighbourhood Centre in St Anns has made 30 staff redundant and is rumoured to be on the brink of closure, whilst there are reports that Neighbourhood Development Company (NDC) are looking to sell Radford's historic Tennyson Hall youth and community centre. The Chase Centre is in need of local support.
It has been suggested that with the credit crunch hitting Nottingham, local authorities may drastically cut funding for community centres and other community projects. This underlines the need for autonomous community centres, such as the Sumac Centre in Forest Fields, which continues to develop.
Previous Feature: End of the Road for ASBO
11th of October saw the first worldwide protests against surveillance measures such as the collection of all telecommunications data, the surveillance of air travellers and the biometric registration of citizens. In at least 15 countries citizens demanded a cutback on surveillance, a moratorium on new surveillance powers and an independent evaluation of existing surveillance powers.
In Liverpool, political campaigns came together to hold stalls in the city centre and distribute leaflets. Police riot vans surrounded and intimidated them, but surrounding crowds helped intervene to block the police and defend the stalls.Reports: | 1 | 2 |
Callouts with background: 0 | 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 |
Very near Myatts Fields and not far from Laughborough Junction station, the Library House stands right behind Minet Library (and it looks like it used to be part of the library services but left empty?).
It is run by a group of local south londoners that are currently fixing it up and already dreaming and preparing events. It aims to be an open house for the local community, and right now lots of work is going on, specially to sort out the electricity.