Op 1 oktober j.l. was het kraakverbod een jaar effectief. Krakers grepen de gelegenheid aan om te demonstreren tegen het verbod, de ME greep de gelegenheid aan om er met de lange lat op te klappen en wij besloten eens te kijken hoe de beweging er voor staat, nu hun core business al een jaar lang verboden is.
Toen we aan het draaien waren filmden we een gesprek tussen een politieagent en krakerswoordvoerder Jop Polak waarin ze overlegden over de route die de krakersdemonstratie zou volgen. De zondag na de demonstratie zei burgemeester Van der Laan van Amsterdam echter dat er 'met krakers niet werd overlegd' en dat de krakers geen toestemming hadden om over het Spui te lopen.
Uit onze beelden bleek het tegendeel, dus gaven we die beelden aan AT5 die het in haar journaal stopte,
waarna Pownews die beelden weer in haar journaal stopte (vanaf 6.18 minuut). Werken in de media, het kan zo makkelijk zijn.
[Press Release] Squatters: "Van der Laan is lying" Squatting will go on
The organisers of last Saturday's demo against the housing shortage, emptiness of properties, speculation and the ban on squatting, which was squelched with extreme police violence and arrests, are in possession of video recordings of the negotiations they undertook with the Amsterdam "Triangle" -- the mayor, the chief of police, and the head prosecutor (Department of Justice) (*1). These make it unmistakeably clear that the Triangle was in accordance with the plan that the demo would leave the Vrankrijk, pass the Spui, and make its way to the "dokwerker" statue. Furthermore, the squatters themselves wanted to go through the quiet, wide and shop-free Nieuwezijdse Voorburgwal, but were channeled into the narrow Spuistraat, where it quickly ended up in police violence, purely thanks to the will of the Triangle. They also make clear that the squatters were in no way out for a confrontation and had made many concessions as far as the route and the speakers were concerned. Finally, the video makes it very clear that the dozens of squatters who weren't arrested were first held hostage for hours, and then herded into buses and deported to the City Hall against their will and against the agreements.
Mayor Van der Laan has repeatedly claimed in the media the last few days that the squatters didn't have permission to demonstrate in the city or to pass through the Spui, and that there were also no negotiations with them about this point (*2). Since Van der Laan personally led last Saturday's police operation, the only possible conclusion is that he intentionally lied to the media. His disparaging remarks the evening before the demonstration on AT5 about independent media such as indymedia.nl (*4) (not coincidentally exactly the media which never simply accept declarations of the government as the truth) can also be seen as a way to defend himself beforehand against the criticisms which he already assumed would be levelled against him. However, he clearly hadn't counted on the fact that the entire negotiation with the Triangle would be filmed.
As far as the second reason given for the police operation, the "violation of the conditions relating to reinforced banners and demonstrators covering their faces", the organisers continue to dispute that these are legitimate reasons to limit the right to demonstrate freely. Passive self-defense against the disproportionate police violence which unfortunately occurs quite regularly, and other state repression, is a basic human right.
Furthermore, the fact that the Department of Justice has already dropped all charges related to the banners, that the judge already ruled last Tuesday that there is insufficient evidence against some of the accused (who were imprisoned the longest for the alleged violation of the ban on self-concealment), and that yet again this morning the Department of Justice dropped a number of cases, indicates that in any case the majority of the demonstrators had grudgingly accepted the strict conditions of the Triangle. Analysis of the video material from the demonstration also shows that the much-feared "facial concealment" consisted almost entirely of sunglasses. If it's a crime to wear sunglasses on a sunny 24 °C (75 °F) day, then they could have arrested practically the entire city that day. The arrested squatters who are nonetheless being prosecuted are facing their trials today (Thursday, October 6) with great confidence.
Upon reading the discussion pieces which have been published within the squat movement the last few days, one can see that many activists are advocating more radical actions based on the course of events last Saturday in order to express their legitimate grievances (*5); if this radicalisation does indeed take place, responsibility can also be fully laid at the mayor's feet.
Considering the above, the only conclusion is that the mayor is once again guilty of illegal imprisonment, trampling on the fundamental right to demonstrate, and publicly lying about it, just as he did after the eviction of the squatted Schijnheilig building. Armed with these lies, the VVD (National Party for Democracy and Freedom) is playing along, even calling for a general ban on demonstrations for squatters (*6), making it clear that the "democracy" and "freedom" they refer to is not intended for the population but for the speculators and the real estate mafia. Finally, Van der Laan launched a police operation which unnecessarily laid a cost of hundreds of thousands of euros on Amsterdammers, money which could have been used to finally make some headway in the fight against emptiness and the housing shortage in Amsterdam.
As the squatters point out, these are grave political sins in a so-called democracy, which should obviously have consequences for the mayor, certainly taking into account his legal training and background. Therefore the squatters demand that Van der Laan immediately resign, and, if he refuses, that the city government directly send him home.
*1 – for a transcript, see http://www.indymedia.nl/nl/2011/10/78860.shtml
and the attached document.
*2 - see, among others, http://www.at5.nl/tv/at5-nieuws/aflevering/8392
*3 - http://rtvnh.nl/nieuws/65067/Koningin+bij+heropening+Scheepvaartmuseum
*4 - see http://www.at5.nl/tv/at5-nieuws/aflevering/8309
*5 - see, among others, http://indymedia.nl/nl/2011/10/78738.shtml
*6 – http://www.nieuwsuitamsterdam.nl/2011/10/groenlinks-vvd-wil-demonstratierecht-inperken