Sunday, 22 December 2013

Stop Christmas eviction Camden solidarity 8 am mon 23 dec

Santa is bringing our brothers and sisters an eviction for Christmas. Come and support the eviction resistance at the Camden squat. 1 Greenland place. NW1 0AP. Solidarity is not an empty word. Come Tonight if you up for helping prepare or tomorrow at 8am. Don't let them spend Christmas without a home. People needed urgently. X support frontline actions for change from Manchester to Brazil network it

Take Action: Stop Honduras Dam Project from Destroying Rainforest

During the summer Honduran soldiers shot dead Tomás García, an 
indigenous Lenca activist, as he was protesting against the construction of the Agua Zarca hydroelectric dam in the community of Rio Blanco, western Honduras. García and his son, along with other community members, were making their way to the protest site when, according to witnesses, soldiers opened fire and began indiscriminately shooting at the terrified protesters.

The Honduran congress had approved a deal with a Chinese company that entails building damns on the Patuca River. Since then, four indigenous groups and Afro-Hondurans have persisted in an effort to save the river, their means of living, and their ancient cultures. Tell the President of the Republic of Honduras to stop this plan from coming to life in order to save these indigenous people.

Sign the petition

Reclaim the Power: Fracking test site in Manchester blockaded with giant wind turbine blade


Anti fracking activists blockaded a fracking test site in Manchester, with a giant wind turbine blade. for more info check or

Saturday, 21 December 2013

THis SAT 21st Dec!GyPsY BENefit Winter Solstice BoNanza!Benefit for Romanian Gypsy site In Wroclaw Facing EvictioN!

THis SAT 21st Dec!GyPsY BENefit Winter Solstice BoNanza!Benefit for Romanian Gypsy site In Wroclaw Facing EvictioN!VeGan Festive DiNNer!OpSa Balkan Band/ The SEvered Limb Band/special Music SuRprise guest(playing early)(me)/pagan Cabaret/Great TOmboLa prizes/spoken Word and much mOre!8pm-Midnight.NortH 07791746168.COme early & support!

Thursday, 19 December 2013

Festive greetings people! Passing Clouds invites you to family & friends WINTER SOLSTICE DINNER next Saturday 21st December 6.30-8.30pm

Festive greetings people! Passing Clouds invites you to family & friends WINTER SOLSTICE DINNER next Saturday 21st December 6.30-8.30pm. It's tradition to bring a small gift from your travels for another and, if you can, a dish from your country. Afterwards dancing into the night with KING BOZIE, SIEMI DI DUO and MULELE MATONDO AFRIKA. Please RSVP! BIG LOVE TO YOU ALL! Eleanor

Mike Freer MP Christmas Carolled By Barnet Bohemians over unfair law section 144 shelter is a human right

Mike Freer Christmas Carolled By Barnet Bohemians

Mike Freer, Conservative MP for Finchley and Golders Green, was christmas carolled at his Constituency Office by a group of 20 Occupiers, local community and the Barnet Bohemians, whose squatted social centre, the Bohemia was evicted last month.


The carols centred around the anti-squatting law, Section 144, of which Freer was the main architect, and the death of a young homeless man Daniel Gauntlett, as a direct result of the criminalisation of squatting in residential buildings.



The protesters were told to leave by office staff, who called the police.

“The police came, saw that we were peacefully protesting, heard our carols and went away with big smiles on their faces. Mike Freer called the police daft in a missent email, we’re calling it daftgate, and now he calls the police on us. So, that might be part of the reason they were so friendly and just let us get on with it.” Said activist Dom, 27.

Mike Freer and his staff declined to comment.


- See more at:

Eviction resistance: monday 23rd of december high court bailifs booked for 8am with police assistance booked at 8.30 am. 1 greenland place nw1 0ap

Eviction resistance: monday 23rd of december high court bailifs booked for 8am with police assistance booked at 8.30 am. 1 greenland place nw1 0ap behind the worlds end pub camden town. whatever they say we will stay. NO PASSARAN

Support access all areas get some tickets for New Year's Eve parties

Support access all areas get some tickets for New Year's Eve parties

Tuesday, 17 December 2013

THis SAT 21st Dec!GyPsY BENefit Winter Solstice BoNanza!

THis SAT 21st Dec!GyPsY BENefit Winter Solstice BoNanza!Benefit for Romanian Gypsy site In Wroclaw Facing EvictioN!VeGan Festive DiNNer!OpSa Balkan Band/ The SEvered Limb Band//pagan Cabaret/Great TOmboLa prizes/spoken Word and much mOre!8pm-Midnight.NortH 07791746168.COme early & support!

Monday, 16 December 2013

CBD cure for cancer network it

Cannabidiol (CBD) is a cannabinoid found in Cannabis:

Chemical data:

Formula: C21H30O2

Mol. mass: 314.46


Cannabidiol (CBD) is one of the main cannabinoids present in the naturally growing populations and in the industrially cultivated varieties of Cannabis sativa L. CBD its not psychoactive and has several pharmacological properties, among others it acts as a powerful anti-inflammatory and antioxidant compound.

Cannabis sativa L. has been selectively bred for recreational uses to obtain the maximum “high”, so the level of delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) have been increased very much (up to 20-25%) and, in upping the potency through selective breeding, CBD has been selectively eliminated from recreational varieties or, eventually, it is rarely found in specific varieties. CBD is often found in hemp – in varieties used to produce fiber and seeds.

The isolation of CBD was recorded back on 1940 by two independent investigation groups. The group of Adams and colleges successfully isolated it from marihuana 1. At the same time Jacob and Todd successfully isolated the cannabidiol from indian hemp resin 2. But was not until 1963 that Mechoulam and Shyo discovered the chemical structure of the CBD and enlightening the comprehension of the nature of the cannabinoids 3. At the next year 1964 Gaoni and Mechoulam finally elucidated the chemical structure of the main psychoactive compound of cannabis the THC matching the starting point of the modern pharmacology of cannabis 4.

1 B R. Adams, M. Hunt and J. H. Clark, J. Amer. Gem. Sot. 62,196 (1940).

2 A. Jacob and A. R. Todd, J. Gem. Sot. 649 (1940)

3 Mechoulam R, Shvo Y. Hashish. I. The structure of cannabidiol. Tetrahedron. 19: 2073 (1963).

4 Gaoni Y, Mechoulam R. Isolation, Structure and Partial Synthesis of an Active Constituent of Hashish. Science. 86: 1646 (1964)


Definition by project CBD, a California based non-profit educational service dedicated to promoting and publicizing research into the medical utility of cannabidiol (CBD):

Cannabidiol —CBD— is a compound in Cannabis that has medical effects but does not make people feel “stoned” and actually counters some of the effects of THC. After decades in which only high-THC Cannabis was available, CBD-rich strains are now being grown by and for medical users.

The reduced psychoactivity of CBD-rich Cannabis may make it an appealing treatment option for patients seeking anti-inflammatory, anti-pain, anti-anxiety and/or anti-spasm effects without disconcerting euphoria or lethargy.

Scientific and clinical studies indicate that CBD could be effective in easing symptoms of a wide range of difficult-to-control conditions, including: rheumatoid arthritis, diabetes, alcoholism, PTSD, epilepsy, antibiotic-resistant infections and neurological disorders. CBD has demonstrated neuroprotective effects, and its anti-cancer potential is currently being explored at several academic research centers in the U.S. and other countries.

Read more on the project CBD website:



Friday, 13 December 2013

195 Mare St social centre in risk of high court eviction at any moment. Come for resistance asap! We need as much people as we can, all support appreciated

195 Mare St in risk of high court eviction at any moment. Come for resistance asap! We need as much people as we can, all support appreciated

London Underground announces to close all ticket offices

This in more crazy cuts unbelievable support the tube staff 1.000 jobs to be cut.invest in public transport network this info innit

Thursday, 12 December 2013

Occupy Barnet assembly tonight 7.30 pm outside the Bohemia 762 finchley high rd network it

Occupy Barnet assembly tonight 7.30 pm outside the Bohemia 762 finchley high rd network it

COPS OFF CAMPUS. DEMO THURSDAY 5TH DECEMBER. Free assembly is the means to social change you and I films


Free assembly is the means to social change, social change that can not be afforded within the current economic context. Otherwise separated individuals unifying around a common grievance or cause present a threat to established institutions of power and it is for this reason and no other that free assembly is increasingly prohibited. The police state is a necessity for enforcing austerity. This situation is not tenable and while the present climate means that those who choose to protest place themselves at risk of this same violence, data collection and intimidation, it is clear that events are now deteriorating so rapidly, almost by the week, that we are left with little choice but to take purposeful collective action.

<iframe src="//" width="500" height="281" frameborder="0" webkitallowfullscreen mozallowfullscreen allowfullscreen></iframe> <p><a href="">Teaching Bill - #CopsOffCampus</a> from <a href="">You and I Films</a> on <a href="">Vimeo</a>.</p>

Monday, 9 December 2013

Greetings the Peace Pilgrimage for Syria is tmrw! Meet outside the UNHCR at 12 Noon. UNHCR is located at Strand Bridge House, 138-142 Strand, WC2 R1HH.

Greetings the Peace Pilgrimage for Syria is tmrw! Meet outside the UNHCR at 12 Noon. UNHCR is located at Strand Bridge House, 138-142 Strand, WC2 R1HH. The nearest tube is Temple. If you can't make this, we'll be at the US embassy from 3.30- 4 p.m. which is in Grosevnor Sq (nearest tube Marble Arch or Bond Street). Or you can meet us at the Syrian Embassy at 6 p.m for a vigil until 8 p.m. Please contact Simon on 07963 475 195 if you have any questions, thanks.

Saturday, 7 December 2013

Mike Freer Impersonates Father Christmas, Steals Children’s Future Occupy News network

Mike Freer Impersonates Father Christmas, Steals Children’s Future

Mike Freer, Tory MP for Finchley and Golder’s Green, was seen impersonating Father Christmas at the East Finchley Festival.

As a Margaret Thatcher idolator (a Prime Minister who took away free milk for school children) and cuts enthusiast, some may find it odd that Freer was dressed as Father Christmas, who gives presents to children once a year rather than robbing them of vital services all year round.

This year, the more politcally informed children are telling Father Christmas:


“I want a new government.”

“Can I have a fair chance in life?”

“I don’t want the NHS privatised in case mummy gets ill.”

“Please don’t close my school.”

“Democracy, please.”

“Can you stop cutting public services?”

“Give mummy and daddy back the tax money you gave to dodgy icelandic banks.”


As the architect of the One Barnet Program, Freer proposes widespread privatisation and cuts to public services ranging from social services to education. He is also behind anti-squatting bill, section 144, whilst accepting thousands in donations from property developers. Since ‘daftgate’, a mistakenly sent email to Occupy protesters calling them ‘knumb-nuts’ and the police ‘daft’, an already unpopular politician has embarassed himself yet again, in Thatcher’s old constituency, the most marginal seat in the UK.

- See more at:

Friday, 6 December 2013

F The Tories Freestyle - NxtGen lyrics rips it,tells it how it is, voice of da yout club

Ontario Activists Protest Tar Sands Pipeline By Locking Themselves to Ma...

Anonymous hand out clothes to the homeless


Anonymous hand out clothes to the homeless

It's not all Guy Fawkes masks, hacking and and letting off fireworks at Buck House y'know. After the fun and games of the Million Mask March, Anonymous have turned their attention to homelessness , with the launch of #OPSafewinter.
Autonomous groups of people are raising money and distributing sleeping bags for the homeless. So far groups are active in Liverpool, Manchester, London, Cardiff, Portsmouth and Southampton. Other groups are gearing up on social media.
So far the London lot have to raised money to buy sleeping bags and have been distributing them to the London homeless. Some are doing it by facebook and word of mouth, getting a group of volunteers together to help hand them out. It's early days yet, some only took it on late so there's still quite a bit to sort out, but they have a some volunteers already, and a donation of a more sleeping bags so it seems to be looking quite positive so far!
One volunteer told Schnews: "The reason I'm doing it is simple - to help the homeless have something warm to sleep in and to try to prevent the deaths through hypothermia that happen on the streets every winter. The new law that makes squatting empty residential buildings illegal has also worsened the problem and it's made life even more difficult for the members of society who are the most vulnerable. So the bottom line is a warm sleeping bag can literally be the difference between life and death."
We managed to get a few words from the Facebook page admin (who funnily enough wanted to remain Anonymous): “What we are doing is organising local people to find out the homeless situation in their local area. Once they know the problem then you can look at ways to help. We understand more people are on the streets this year than any other, due to many economic and sociopolitical reasons, (everyone has their own story) this is not just UK but everywhere, Anonymous is global and the thing they do best is move quickly and share information. This is a perfect reason to address the homeless situation and raise awareness. How? Social media, share links and create media of our own, we have not relied to date on outside media but created our own.”
On the other side of the spectrum we did a short interview with the guy who started the Operation :
Q: What is #OPSafewinter?
A: OpSafeWinter was started to bring awareness of the plight of many thousands of homeless people on the streets this winter. It is also a call to everyone everywhere to root out whatever they have to help battle the cold. So we're after sleeping bags, gloves, hats, socks, food and anything else they may need to make living on the streets a little less difficult.
Q: Do Anonymous plan to make similar events in the future?
A: Yes, I will be but Anonymous can be anyone and everyone. If some one shares in the idea of Anonymous then they can start an 'op' and gain interest and help from other anons. That's one of the reasons why Anonymous works.
Q: How does someone get involved?
A: A great way to find out what anons are currently organising is to Join Anonymous UK on facebook or get involved with the chat on Twitter. They then could help organise current events or if they are passionate about a cause that isn't being discussed they could also create their own event.
Contact Information
Or get involved with the discussion by tweeting #OPSafewinter

Corporate Watch presents: International Militant Rap Night! Sat 7th Dec 8pm-late, rappers+djs. Drowning

Corporate Watch presents: International Militant Rap Night! Sat 7th Dec 8pm-late, rappers+djs. Drowning Dog & Malatesta (San Fran,Milan), Premiere Ligne (Paris), QELD (Bristol), Oracy Chambers (London). Dissident Island djs & dj Steaz. Call infoline on day for location: 07459318421. Spread the word! x


Drop, or significantly change, the proposed bill.  Stop undermining human rights like the right of lawful protest.

Why is this important?

As it stands it will allow *private* companies to impose Injunctions to Prevent Nuisance and Annoyance (IPNAs) - replacement ASBOs. Breaching an IPNA could result in your house being repossessed, and the conditions of an IPNA can be more onerous that those of an ASBO.
The "offences" that can lead to an IPNA being imposed are so broadly defined that many important activities, most importantly lawful protests, can be labelled "annoying" and lead to draconian conditions being imposed. See here for the bill:


Thursday, 5 December 2013

Chickens coming home to roost, or: the occupation of Margaret Thatcher House - the Mrs Angry hilarious take on the occupation

Chickens coming home to roost, or: the occupation of Margaret Thatcher House

Updated Thursday - see below

Mrs Angry called in to visit the occupiers of Margaret Thatcher House this morning, finding them in good spirits and keen for our local MP Mike Freer to accept their invitation to join them for a night in the cold, to experience what it is like for someone without a home to live out on the street. They have this morning sent him this letter:

Dear Mike 

We appreciate you taking the time to communicate with us, thank you for the permission from you and your office to conduct our peacefull protest on the front yard piece of land at 212 Ballards lane N12.

The protest at your constituency office is a result of us trying to engage with the parliamentary democratic process in which we followed your procedures,for a public consultation.
Lobbying campaigning and raising awareness,whereby 96% of the replies to the public Consultation said do not criminalise squatting.
Including  Judges, police and lawyers associations as well as homeless charities and housing NGOs  requesting the law not be enacted.
However your government chose to ignore their own  public consultation and press ahead undemocratically to criminalise sheltering (squatting) in empty buildings.

We are further concerned greatly by Chris Grayling the justice minister saying he may once again undemocratically criminalise non residential squatting.Which is one of the last safety nets for many homeless and landless people who are not helped by the housing system.

Part of serving your constituents is to represent all constituents including rich and poor this includes some of your homeless constituents currently evicted onto your front yard from a community centre around the corner the Bohemia.

We have many points of importance to raise with you around the issues of the Housing crisis,the rise in street homeless,the bedroom tax,the further criminalisation of non residential squatting etc.
The law you co sponsored sec 144 Laspo act is unfair, unjust, undemocratic, unlawful, unaffordable and unworkable,and is causing great misery by removing an ancient and basic human right to shelter.

Also leading to an increased number of people freezing to death over winter.Many of your constituents are facing urgent housing/homeless and medical issues,which we hope you are willing to address.

We have had numerous liaisons with the inspectors from Colindale police of the past days (which we have filmed recorded and logged ) who are happy for our protest to continue, acknowledging that:
We are not breaking any laws and that we have rights to peacefully protest and assemble under ECHR articles 10 and 11.

That at all times we are endeavouring to be polite, courteous,co-operative with police requests through regular Liason.
We are keeping the area clean and tidy and are aiming to install some plants and window boxes to make the area more beautifull and attractive.
We are keeping the main access way very clear to your doorstep all times.
We have trained health and safety managers who are monitoring the situation.

We politely ask you to meet with us to discuss matters of great national importance such as the housing crisis which we feel your sec144 is exacerbating.
We would like to invite you to spend a few nights camped out with some of your homeless constituents to discuss these and many other issues,over a cup of tea, in an atmosphere of co-operative democratic discussion.

Having been ignored by your so called democratic public consultation, we have taken this act of peacefull protest to facilitate direct discussion and to stimulate the debate in the national media.

We are, having met with you and shared our views with each other,and some of our conditions met, happy to discuss an end date to our protest in a reasonable and proportionate manner without recourse to the law.
We hope to avoid unnecessary court time and expense.
We shall be advised in all the matters by our good friends Bindmans solicitors.

Looking forward to a discussion of solutions to the housing crisis that we can all work towards together.

Yours sincerely

Bohemia Caretakers

Not backing Boris: the Bohemian occupiers of Margaret Thatcher House 

Guardian article Suppressed report: welfare reform link to homelessness and food bank use A Tory council has withdrawn its own official report linking welfare cuts to a range of social problems


Suppressed report: welfare reform link to homelessness and food bank use

A Tory council has withdrawn its own official report linking welfare cuts to a range of social problems from food poverty to violent crime.

Now you see it now you don't. No sooner had Kent Online reported the details of an official Kent county council report linking welfare reform to rises in homelessness, food bank use and violent crime, than the report was suppressed.

Council leader Paul Carter, whose name was apparently on the report even though he hadn't read it, told Kent Messenger Group political editor Paul Francis that he had he decided to take it down from the council website because he did not agree with its conclusions.

So what was it about the report's findings that Carter found so disagreeable?

Wednesday, 4 December 2013

Northern Frack The anti-fracking frontline has arrived in Barton Moss SchNEWS - Direct Action Newsheet

SchNEWS - Direct Action Newsheet

Northern Frack

The anti-fracking frontline has arrived in Barton Moss. As SchNEWS reported back in September , this site near the M62 in Salford was next in line for the controversial gas extraction technique. This time it's IGas – a fuel exploration company partially owned by the Chinese government.
Yesterday (Weds 27th) saw the first four arrests as around fifty people answered the call-out for the Great Northern Gas Gala and formed human chains in front of iGas's trucks. The police, perhaps having learned from the Balcombe experience, were there in numbers from the start.
According to campaigning organisation Frack Off's newsfeed, a small drilling rig has already been established on site – possibly for prepatory work for the big rig, which is planned to drill down a staggering 10,000 feet in order to find exploitable reserves of either shale gas or coal bed methane.
A small camp has been set up on a private road very near  the site and urgently needs your support. SchNEWS spoke to one of the hardy campers "Locals are really unhappy and feel completely disenfranchised. The government hasn't listened and the council haven't listened. Now we have to take matters into our own hands. Luckily peple from around the country have come to support us".
For directions and a rather optimistic* wish list -
For an overview of the situation at Barton Moss please see these articles:

* Fracking Manchester: IGas Threatens Barton Moss
* Fracking Threat In The North West

The segregation of women and the appeasement of bigotry » Spectator Blogs

The segregation of women and the appeasement of bigotry

WTF are these universities for real segregation NO Way.Protest for equality and unity.

The segregation of women and the appeasement of bigotry » Spectator Blogs

OpSafeWinter | Helping the Homeless across the globe.

OpSafeWinter | Helping the Homeless across the globe.
Anonymous call out to help the for all.

London Peace Pilgrimage for Syria next Tues 10th Dec (human rights day) calling for aid not arms for Syria and a ceasefire

London Peace Pilgrimage for Syria next Tues 10th Dec (human rights day) calling for aid not arms for Syria and a ceasefire to address urgent humanitarian disaster. Check for more details. Follow us on Twitter @SyriaPJ.'

Tuesday, 3 December 2013

Guardian Letter: Squatting changes threat to homeless

Guardian Letter: Squatting changes threat to homeless

A letter we co-ordinated was published in todays Guardian here
It reads…
Winter is a difficult time for the UK’s homeless population (Report, 29 November). We are concerned at both the effect of existing legislation, which has made squatting in residential properties a criminal offence, and the proposals being made by some within the government to extend the law to encompass commercial properties. We fear that any further criminalisation which removes the option of seeking shelter in abandoned and unused commercial property would have disastrous consequences. We wish to remind the government of the tragic death of one homeless person already this year. Daniel Gauntlett died from exposure after police prevented him from entering a derelict house. At the very least, a thorough impact assessment should be undertaken in conjunction with homeless charities before any further legislation is even considered.
There are record numbers of people in temporary accommodation. Street homeless figures have skyrocketed in recent months and the full extent of the bedroom tax and welfare cuts are yet to be felt. Austerity measures have slashed vital funding to homeless services, which are already operating at full stretch. Removing the option of squatting in abandoned commercial spaces would be a further blow to an already marginalised and at-risk segment of society. As the weather worsens, the risks street homeless people face are greater. The government must take the very real link between squatting and homelessness into consideration.
Alastair Murray Housing Justice
Bob Baker, Director Simon Community
Sarah Morris Housing Action Southwark & Lambeth
Jenny Hemmings Haringey Solidarity Group
Matt Kershaw Squatters Action for Secure Homes
Kate Hoey MP Labour, Vauxhall
Jeremy Corbyn MP Labour, Islington North
John McDonnell MP Labour, Hayes & Harlington

New squatting law starts to crumble - Keep squatting!

New squatting law starts to crumble - Keep squatting!

imc-uk & housing war | 11.11.2013 22:31 | Policing | Social Struggles | London | South Coast | Wales

Section 144 of LASPO may prove unenforceable in practice

Resistance to s.144 of the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act (LASPO) 2012 that outlaws squatting in residential buildings is growing. Ultimately, the law may prove unworkable and unenforceable. There have been a number of successful prosecutions under the new law, including the widely publicised conviction and imprisonment of 21 year old Alex Haigh who came to London looking for work and stayed in an unoccupied housing association flat. He pleaded guilty, but it has since become clear that where a not guilty plea is entered by defendant, it may be difficult if not impossible for the prosecution to prove the charge. After some notable acquittals, we have a better idea about the obstacles facing hapless prosecutors and some of the ways in which well-informed residential squatters might go about successfully defending themselves in court. Read on.

On the newswire: Brighton acquittals 1 | Brighton acquittals 2 | Moelfre acquittal | Squatting as protest in Southwark | Mike Weatherley is a coward case | Alex Haigh conviction | Henry: Bristol's first victim of squatting criminalisation
Other links: Squatters Legal Network | Advisory Service for Squatters | Rooftop Resistance | SQUASH


Background to s.144

Section 144 of the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act (LASPO) became law on September 1, 2012. In brief, it is now a criminal offence if a person is inside a residential building as a trespasser and living or intending to live there. Yet "living" is hard to prove, as the cases below demonstrate. Just as activist groups such as SQUASH were warning all along, the new law is now falling apart under legal scrutiny. This is fantastic; it should not be a crime to occupy unused or derelict space.

Some early prosecutions ended in conviction

Unfortunately, there have already been successful prosecutions and at least two people have been sent to prison. It is hard to track figures countrywide, but Alex Haigh is regarded to have been the first person to be convicted, after being arrested in a squat in Pimlico, London. He was sentenced to 12 weeks in jailHenry from Bristol was also an early casualty of the new law.

homeless Polish man was accosted by police who broke into a derelict house to tell him to leave. When he went back to sleep instead, they came back and arrested him.

Despite pubs specifically being excluded from section 144 in the Government's own guidance, two people were convicted in Romford last year of squatting a flat in a pub, although it is unclear whether they actually served time in the end.

There are no doubt other cases elsewhere, which groups such as the Squatters Legal Network are trying hard to follow.

Also for example, there was the case of the Spanish squatters in London who changed their plea from not guilty to guilty (they didn't get prison sentences, but it seems they received bad legal advice).

Of course, the new law is also being used a lot by police to intimidate people into leaving squats and it seems quite common for people to be arrested and not charged (by which time their house has been boarded up again). However, section 144 is now being challenged by people who are refusing to plead guilty...

Brighton Three go free

In Brighton, three squatters were arrested in a raid two days after the law changed. In what was seen as a test case for the police, they were charged with the new offence of squatting, as well as obstruction and abstraction (of electricity). Two squatters had all charges dropped, the other was convicted on the word of a copper. On appeal in October 2013, this conviction was also thrown out, since the Judge and two magistrates agreed that there was absolutely no proof that the squatters were actually living there. There is some analysis of the court case here.

The judge refused to comment on the second defence argument, namely that the building, despite being defined as residential by both the property management company and the police, had actually never been converted to residential.

Acquittal in Moelfre case

Tristan Dixon was accused of squatting a derelict house in Moelfre, Powys where he had planned to cultivate the abandoned land rather than reside. He was convicted under section 144 at Welshpool magistrates court with the help of a crap solicitor and subsequently appealed the conviction. Having filed a motion to have the initial charges quashed, he was then informed that the CPS would not be contesting the appeal, but Tristan wanted the case to be heard so that the legal issues could be aired in court and properly considered. At Mold Crown Court on 6 November, Judge Rowlands threatened Tristan with the possibility of exorbitant legal costs if he insisted on the case going ahead, so in the end he settled for an acquittal. A protest against homelessness and in support of squatting was held outside the Crown and County Court building where at least ten repossession cases were being heard that day.

Some of the issues over the original conviction were that the charge was ill-founded, failing to address knowledge of trespassing and charging Tristan with 'living' or 'intending to live' in the property without specifying any period of time, as well as conflating these two alleged offences ('living' and 'intending to live') into one, creating what was in effect an uncertain charge.

Southwark Protest Squat

The occupation of two Council houses in Southwark to prevent their sell-off for profit justifiably gathered a lot of media attention. But it also highlighted another way to attack s.144, which is to squat something as a protest rather than for living. This seems to have gone very well in this case so far, with the police not threatening to evict, despite the houses clearly being residential.

See also Housing Action Southwark & Lambeth.

As the squatters say,

"we hope that our protest shows that the law to criminalise squatting in residential buildings (section 144) should not apply to protest occupations such as ours and that empty residential buildings should still be used for such acts."

Mike Weatherley is a coward case

As an amusing sidenote, the trial of the person charged under Section 4a of the Public Order Act (for calling Mike Weatherley a coward!) continued on November 11 at Brighton Magistrates Court. Weatherley and his cronies appear to want to scapegoat someone as revenge for getting chased off the University of Sussex campus by a large group of people last year.

Whilst they appear to be building a case of affray, the Crown must prove that the defendant caused alarm, distress or harassment to Weatherley and it seems unlikely they will be able to. At the hearing on 11 November, a submission to dismiss the case was made, but this was refused by the Judge and the case will continue on 12 November. Follow @housingwar on twitter for updates.

Practical advice for squatters

So it seems clear that people arrested under s.144 should not talk to the police except to give a no comment interview and should not plead guilty to the offence. The examples mentioned above show that it is difficult to prove that a squatter is "living or intending to live" in a squat without a major surveillance operation. This already makes the law unenforceable. Add to that arguments about the squat being a protest rather than residential, or perhaps a dispute over whether the specific building in question is even legally adapted as residential, and it seems clear that s.144 is unworkable in practice. On top of that, the huge expense that the police will have to go to, with forensic analysis of food and mattresses, door-to-door interviews with neighbours and observation of the squat, makes the law unaffordable! The "crime" of squatting residential buildings will continue!

imc-uk & housing war 
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