Hackney squatters fight off eviction for third time

Squatters on Mare Street resist eviction

Pic: Tabby Kinder

Hackney squatters successfully resisted eviction on Friday morning for the third time in the past two weeks.

Private security bailiffs arrived at 10.30am at 197 Mare Street, but were deterred by the large number of activists surrounding the squat.

The protest group, which included campaigners from the Orange Fence squatting group and Dale Farm, argued with the security firm before they departed. But resistance was peaceful and entirely without police involvement.

The squatters, who have occupied the flats above a disused shop for almost seven years, handed out tea and cakes to their supporters, who played music and gave out flyers to passers-by.

Mark Smith, 23, lives in a squat in east London. He campaigned at Dale Farm in October and showed support on Mare Street today. “The bailiffs left when they realised they weren’t going to be able to achieve anything today,” he said.

“There’s a lot of ‘back-room politics’ surrounding evictions. Police, the council, and security firms all seem to have different ideas about how best to go about squat evictions. I think that confusion is why the resistance movement is so successful in Hackney at the moment.”

The 197 Mare Street occupants believe the owners plan to demolish the building to construct shops and flats. In solidarity with Orange Fence – which views the eviction resistance movement as “against the gentrification of east London” – Mare street squatters plan to block the development.

A representative from the Orange Fence group told EastLondonLines: “The list of ‘illegally trespassed’ properties in Hackney is just getting longer and longer. No wonder they’re totally failing to get anything done.”

The group is currently resisting plans by Hackney Council to evict Orange Fence members from their residency of St Mark’s Rise in Dalston. They have been at the property for four years.

Today’s resistance comes exactly two weeks after squatters successfully stopped bailiffs from evicting two properties on Well Street and Mare Street, Hackney.

The demonstration on November 4 involved around 50 people marching on Morning Lane Tesco against the proposed eviction of a Tesco-owned house on 320 Mare Street. A full report of the demonstration can be read here.

An unnamed resident of this squat confirmed on Friday that there has been no further action from Hackney council, police, or private security firms since the demonstration.

On November 21, the Legal Aid, Sentencing, and Punishment of Offenders Bill will be read in the House of Lords. The Bill effectively criminalises the act of trespass in residential property and will make most squatting illegal.


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