Squatting in empty properties is now a criminal offence, but homeless people say they are being unfairly criminalised.
The ministry of justice estimates up to 2,000 people could be prosecuted each year [Al Jazeera/Simon Hooper ]
|London, UK – “Todd” was 18 when he came to the United Kingdom from Lithuania in 2005 in search of a better life. But things didn’t work out. By 2009, with the British economy ravaged by recession, he had lost his job and had nowhere to live.
“I had really bad depression so I couldn’t hold a job. I ended up sleeping rough on the streets. My mental health was deteriorating… I had suicidal thoughts,” he recalls.
Todd – an adopted Anglicisation of his Lithuanian name – ended up in Brighton, a town on England’s south coast with a reputation for tolerance, a vibrant arts scene and a homelessness problem. It was there that he began to rebuild his life, finding a vital support network among those squatting in the town’s ample stock of empty and neglected buildings and sometimes opening them up as impromptu galleries and cultural spaces.
“I call myself houseless, not homeless. We are a community and we help each other out,” he explains. “There is a lot of support and there is always somebody to talk to. Living like this, you’re always in control of your own life. You don’t have the money to support yourself food-wise, maybe, but you can go and get it from skips. It’s still the same food.” View full article »
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The protest brought together tens of thousands of people 70,000 according to the organizers, 25,000 according to the Guardia Urbana police..-roads that have been jammed including the AP-7 Motorway and the center of the city from early in the morning. They also wanted to show solidarity with the students in Valencia, harshly repressed by police in recent weeks.
The student demonstrations on Wednesday against cuts in education from the streets of Barcelona have received police charges and clashes between the Autonomous Cops and the protesters, and have resulted in a balance of 12 injured and 12 arrested, including two children.
The detainees have been charged with public disorder, damage to street furniture, container burning and attacks on police officers, all of whom will this Thursday to justice as they are closing the proceedings.
Major incidents have occurred on campus in the city center and Plaça Catalunya, where they are celebrating the Mobile Phone World Congress.
Congress has been much of the afternoon heavily protected by a cordon of riot and Mossos to the hundreds of protesters who were nearby. Agents have arrested one of the students when they wanted to cross the police line that had surrounded them, which caused the student reaction, and a stone throwing objects, and some agents charge.
“Less police and education” or “we are students and not criminals” were some of the slogans that have shouted.
The Sindicat d’Estudiants dels Catalan Countries (SEPC) has accused the Catalan police of “suppressing” the protests and demanded the release of detainees without charge. Fifty students have protested peacefully against the Mossos police station in the district of Les Corts.
Students at the Autonomous University of Barcelona and has called for another day strike for Thursday.
Earlier, hundreds of students have taken the campus of the University of Barcelona, which has led to the Autonomous surround the campus, in the center of the city, where there have been serious riots and clashes between demonstrators and law enforcement.
At the end of the protest some people have burned container
During the morning, the protests have resulted in new police charges after several of the protesters have burned containers and vehicles passing through some of the streets, as the confluence of the Calle de Balmes council or the Eixample.
Upon completion of the protest, some demonstrators have dispersed into groups by the Eixample of Barcelona and have overturned and set fire to several containers. In one of the fires that have been formed, the fire has caught in a vehicle parked next to containers, Efe reported.
Tens of thousands of people in Barcelona, students and university staff have carried out a march in the Plaza of the University of Barcelona that has collapsed the city center. In the morning, protesters cut off several highways and Bellaterra station of the Railways of the Generalitat, causing major delays. At 10:30, about 200 students have come to the SER, where they read a statement with their demands in the program live ‘Fora Joc’.
The strike in favor of public education in Catalonia has also been seconded by
teachers, researchers and administrative staff, showing banners with the slogan “We wont pay foryour scam” and that the organizers have described as “huge success”. This protest is in addition to those held in about a dozen more cities participating in strikes, rallies and demonstrations organized by the Students Union.
In Valencia closures have occurred in universities during a demonstration tonight and has come from the History Department at 12:00 hours.
In Madrid there was a demonstration from Cybele to the Sun, called by the university network of community meetings, along with the Assembly and Youth Without Interinstitutos Future. About a thousand students chanting “we are students, not criminals” or “We are all the Luis Vives High School” have participated in it. The general coordinator of IU, Cayo Lara, has attended the event, where young people said “do not want to be in a country with 31% of school failure and spent half a point less than the European average spending on education” , Efe reported.
Also in Malaga have left protested on campus about one hundred students demanding a “free public education and quality.”