Freedom Newspaper received the following communique from squatters occupying the former Camberwell police station in South London. The group, known as the Serious Annoyance, lost the legal battle to remain in possession of the property on Tuesday July 20th but remain in occupation in defiance of the granting of an interim possession order (IPO). This high court judgement criminalises anyone remaining in the property from 2.30pm on Wednesday onwards, meaning that the occupiers face arrest and potentially up to six months imprisonment for failing to leave. They have been in occupation since July 9th, when they released this initial statement and are calling for people to support by sharing their story and being present on the street outside pending the threatened eviction.
The police station occupation is part of the resurgent militant squatting movement that has coalesced from a mixture of anarchists, environmental protesters and travellers against the proposed new anti-trespass laws being brought forward by the UK government. The new laws are seen as an outright attack on those from nomadic cultures, as well as against the burgeoning anti-HS2 protest movement. A former police station was occupied earlier this year in response to the Sarah Everard murder, as well as last year in Paddington Green, and previously back in 2014.
Here is what they released today. Freedom will continue to report as the situation develops.
The Serious Annoyance has returned to occupy the empty Camberwell Police Station as we continue in our fight to Kill The Bill, Resist Anti Trespass and highlight the destructive role of the police force. We fight against these bills in a show of solidarity with all those the police do not protect, and to state that we do not, and will not accept increased police powers that effectively ban protest and criminalise trespass – effectively rendering a travelling life impossible, and intentionally erasing GRT (Gypsy/Roma/Traveller) culture and heritage. In occupying this cop shop, we choose to collectively stand against this injustice.
Our motive for the past few weeks has been to create a community oriented and community inspired space – one that relies not on money, but on mutual aid and solidarity. Our Open Art Space, a graphic art focused free-paint day, lead to some incredible murals and impactful messages strewn across our space. These were joyfully received by the local community, many of whom we invited inside to see the space for our F*ck The Cops exhibition. There, we handed out zines, ran workshops & distributed resources to those around us to inform the local community about the Kill The Bill and Resist Anti Trespass movements, and the bills they counter.
The outpouring of support from the locals was immense – we were provided food and drinks from Church St restaurants and takeaways, received many a passing honk of support, and were kindly gifted a care package from one of the local off licenses. On July 8th, ThamesWater shut our water supply off. We spent almost a fortnight without access to running water, which has hit us especially hard during the heatwave of the recent days. A comrade of ours wound up with heatstroke last Saturday as a result and had to be treated by paramedics out in the scorching sun. This severing of our water supply is in direct breach of the Human Rights Act 1998 – it was not detailed in the possession order, and ThamesWater, upon receipt of our address, refused to send someone out.
We are incredibly grateful to all those who have assisted the space in any way, shape or form – however small or big, everyone’s contributions have helped to show that it is possible to create a space that does not rely on money, but on community as a means of security.
In love, rage & solidarity,
@not.a.cop.shop & the crew at Camberwell