PRAGUE SQUATS UNDER ATTACK

Squat Ladronka evicted (Nov 00)

New Prague squat "Milada" threatened by Eviction (Oct 98)

Squat Zenklova evicted (Sep 97)

Soccora Squat abandoned (Sep 97)

Squat Ladronka sold to Real Estate Speculators (Feb 97)

NYC Support for the Czech Squat Ladronka (96)

More about Ladronka (95)


Squat Ladronka evicted

Report of the eviction of Ladronka in Prague, by people of Köpi (Berlin)
Source: http://squat.net/koepi/
See for more info also http://www.ladronka.cz/

In the morning of the 9th of november the squatted cultural centre and livingspace Ladronka in Prague got evicted, which completely suprised the inhabitants. Four people got arrested during the eviction, meanwhile they all got released. Properties of the inhabitants were confiscated and partially still not returned. After the eviction one of the supporters of Ladronka got heavily beaten up by the police, he is still in hospital. The cops deny this 'incident', the victim took juridical steps. Ladronka existed for more then seven years. It is a livingspace for about 15 people and its size and more than regional significance makes it an irreplacable cultural centre for Prague, which ironically is European Cultural Capital 2000.

The eviction is in drastic contradiction of the legal status of Ladronka. Since 1994 there's an agreement between the City and Ladronka, which legally assures the possibility of construction and exploitation of the centre. In 1999 the city tried to unilaterally break the agreement. The juridical procedure about this is not finished yet! As official ground for the eviction the city pleads theft of electricity. Also there would be an onimous signature-list of neighbours, longing for an eviction. Nobody ever saw this list and it's existence is doubtfull. In the past the neighbours sided with Ladronka repeatedly. Rather there's a clear connection with the anti-IMF protests in september. The already in advance and more strongly afterwards committed slander by politicians and media changed the political climate and the attitude of large parts of the population towards leftist movements. The local politician which is the main responsible for the eviction is Martin Dvorák, candidate for the senate-elections in the Chech Republic last sunday (12-11). The senate is the second chamber of parliament. The suspicion is that once more a politician tried to profile himself with populist measures at others expense.

The illegal eviction of Ladronka must be undone! To this purpose there's various protestactions. Last sunday a manifestation with 400 participants took place in Prague's old citycentre. The now homeless inhabitants of Ladronka brought tents to spend the night in the citycentre and thus make people aware of their situation. During next week there will be several concerts and other cultural events in support of Ladronka. Next friday a big demonstration is planned in Prague, with the demand to undo the illegal eviction. Because of the very stressfull situation for the inhabitants we still don't have detailed information about the exact place and time. To keep informed it's best to check the Ladronka website - http://www.ladronka.cz



New Prague squat "Milada" threatened by Eviction (Okt 98)

The new squat "Milada" in Prague is under the permanent threat of eviction. This house, originally called Milada, hasn't been occupied for 10 years until we decided to squat it on May First1998. It solved our right to live under the roof and we tried to create a culture social center, comunity life and place for self-realization. The house does not exist in catastral papers - which means there is no owner of Milada.

We brought a new life there and we actually rescued the building from total destruction. There was a few concerts, pupets show and artist exibitions in repaired house. We would like to open regulary opened bar, infoshoop and tearoom offering anarchist and alternative literature... those were our plans for the future.
Now we have to fight to survive, to keep our home.
A not written treaty was made with Institute for Infomations and Education (this organization exists under Ministry of Education) - the owner of the land, in a conditon of not commiting crimes.

First raid of antiextremist group of police happened in June and second just before Local Street Party in August. Few personal things were stolen, a small amount of marihuana was found and "white sollored undefined stuff" was left by police (classical police strategy to leave hard drugs in squats here). Nobody was really accused, but owner ordered us to leave by 4.9.1998. We didn't respect it and tried to contact him.
On 14.9. he visited us again and tried to come in. We decided to resist and build first barricades in house. The second date to leave was 7.10.98, but again we didn't do it.
Instead of it 5 people were barricaded on roof, but three of them under the pressure of representative of IFIE and police left second day roof and they were accused according to paragaraph 249a (which criminalized squatting). The last two people stayed there till security left. The security (some of them were naziskinheads) was called and payed by owner and protected house for four days (7/10-10/10) and they destroyed personal staff and equipment of squat.
People are still prepared to claimb onto roof, to build barricades or to taking actions.We are still waiting for the attacks by owner, police or naziskinheads.

Squatters are moving in again and the rest of squatters movement is supportiung them by taking actons,organisig benefit, contacting media and lobbying for squat Milada and squatters movement at all. There was during four days of security presence a protest a mainly support camp to our friends on the roof. TV disscussion on this issue was broadcasts from the camp. As soon as possible we will try to organize a press conference, benefit concerts and happening is going to take place at 7.11.98 in Prague.

We won't abandon to state represive squads and we still want to live here and devolop our activities. We won't let them to beat us.
We would like to appreciate any kind of help you can offer. Technical support, money, demonstrations before Czech ambasy in your country, spreading informations or writting letters to owner or to us.
You can contact us via e-mail: csaf-pr@usa.net

PS: If you want to go to Prague and are looking for a free place to sleep you can also contact us.


Squat Zenklova evicted (Sep 97)

Update: Two weeks after the police evicted the new Prague squat in Zenklova street, the house was squatted again. At least four people from the original group moved in and started to repair the house. They reached some agreement with the owner, and was able to live there for about 6 months. At that point they had to leave, and many of the Zenklova squatters are involved in the occupation of the new squat Milada

At 22.30 September 3rd 1997, police units surprisingly stormed the new squat in Prague - Zenklova street. At least two police vans and several special troopers were seen on the scene. In the time of the police attack, there were only 8-12 squatters in the house. When the squatters heard the police bashing on the door they occupied the roof of the building forcing the police to need the help of the fire brigade to carry out the eviction. 30-40 anarchists and autonome gathered in front of the squatt during the night and the morning, but militant defence of the Zelenkova house was not possible because of presence of numerous police troops. After five hours eight people were removed from the rooftop and detained in the police cells overnight. They may be charged after par. 249-a) of penal law -"illegal use of housing estate" - for which they can be fined up to 50.000 CZK (1500 USD) or imprisoned for 2 years. In addition they can be liable for all expensives involved in the eviction.

The house, which had stood empty for nine years, had been squatted for one month. The 15 squatters had begun repairs on all 30 rooms in the three storey building, cleaning, replacing broken windows and installing a toilet. They also had plans to repair the plumbing which had been destroyed over the years and reconnect the electricity. After a few days the police came to the house asking to speak with the squatters and to see their identification papers. The police then left without incident. For the rest of the month the squatters continued their repairs on the building. With no further problems from the police or from the owner of the house, they began plans to open an info/cafe and tea room.

The whole event was widely covered by the media, with no comments. The short life of the squatt was already succesfull - local citizens criticised the police for the eviction and praised the squatters for repairing the house, whose owner left it to deteriorate for long years. The families in the closest neighbourhood, belonging to the Gipsy community, also showed some solidarity with the squatters.


Sochora Squat abandoned (Sep 97)

In the end of September most of the inhabitants of the Sochora 28 squat left the house, because the Prague City authority expressed the strong will to evict the house. The rest of the squatters entered the negotioations with the City council which resulted surprisingly well for the Sochora 28 inhabitans - City promised them to provide them by an old empty house free of charge for their activities, if they left the Sochora 28. The new building will house a "Centre of free education," run by the former squatters.

On February 15th, Squatters from the anarchist squat in Sochora Street broke up a police attack and defended the entrace to the squat. Police officers stated, that they have an official order to evict this "house of junkies and dangerous anarchists". The local police commander was so depressed by defeat of his policemen, that he declared to use special anti-terrorist assault troops in few more days to evict the squatt. Sochora squat was founded in 1992. It is for instance last shelter for meetings of Prague group of CAF and several others groups of political anarchists. At least two members of CSAF are active squatters in the Sochora house.

On February 19th, some 70 anarchists demonstrated in Prague to show support for Sochora 28 squat. The action was videotaped by the secret police, but the unit of riot police dispatched to the scene did not intervene, and the rally was peaceful. There was one large slogan banner "Homes instead of banks" (the Sochora street is endangered by the project of one bank) and black/red anarchosyndicalist flags.


Squat Ladronka sold to Real Estate Speculators (Feb 97)

On February 27th, the Prague city council decided to sell building of Ladronka squat to a foreign company, which plans to build a luxury hospital for the upper classes. Therefore Ladronka may be evicted very early. Ladronka is currently inhabited by 15 squatters and is a well known autonomist cultural centre. Squat Ladronka was sold to the "SANTE" company, which announced to start reconstruction in a very short time. The price of Ladronka (manor house from 16th century) was set to only 3 Million CZK ($100.000), which is ridiculous, because Ladronka is worth much more.

Ladronka squatters have been negotiating with local authority for a long time and were offered to leave Ladronka voluntarily and accept another building - the "Safranka" manor house, nearby Ladronka. They would have to create a common NGO organisation and accept conditions of the City. The building would be oficially rented (but still owned by the City). There are some more problems: there are still some common people living in "Safranka", who would be evicted.

Write President Vaclav Havel, Prague, Czech Republic, (and/or the nearest Czech Embassy) and tell him HANDS OFF SOCCHORA AND LADRONKA SQUATS!


NYC Support for Czech Squat Ladronka (96)

In February 96, Manhattan's Lower East Side and the activist group Neither East Nor West held a protest at the Czech mission to the UN in support of the Ladronka squatters in Prague. Just as New York's squatters on East 13th Street face the threat of eviction and police raids under the gentrification regime of Mayor Rudolph Giuliani, Czech squatters are threatened with removal by the new gentrification regime of former communist bureaucrats turned capitalist entrepreneurs.

A group of young people associated with the Prague alternative magazine Autonomia moved into the 17th century farmhouse Ladronka, just outside the city, in September 1993, and declared an "autonomous cultural center". Since then, they have established: at the house an "infocafe" featuring video and film presentations, a reading room stocked with alternative publications and environmental and anti-fascist literature, a music rehearsal studio and concert hall, a photo gallery, and lodging space to accommodate young people traveling from abroad.

The first raid on Ladronka took place in February 1994 at the command of the Prague Council. The Trade Company, the official administrator of the Ladronka site, hopes to develop the building into a tourist hotel. The Trade Company has close connections to members of the Prague Council. The Ladronka squatters were given a month to vacate the building. However, protests and petitions caused the Council to back down, and the deadline passed without incident.

The next raid, in January 1995, was a heavy-handed police action reminiscent of Communist police raids on pro-democracy activists in November 1989. 15 patrol cars descended on Ladronka and police thoroughly searched the premises, videotaping everything. Eight Squatters were arrested for small-quantity cannabis possession and other minor charges. Autonomia editorial collective member Arnost Novak was interrogated by the Special "antiextremist" police.

Further action was delayed by the Trade Company's problems in financing the hotel development. But the company now says they hope to begin the development in the spring of 1996, and that if the Ladronka squatters don't leave, "they will be forcibly removed." Furthermore, a new law passed in Prague mandates a two-year prison term against anyone who squats a vacant property. The Pilsner beer company is said to be considering investing in the Ladronka development scheme.

Neither East Nor West and New York squatters are prepared to offer further solidarity to the Ladronka Autonomous Cultural Center should authorities move to evict. The demonstration on February 8 drew more than its share of police - dozens for only 20 demonstrators - and the mission was surrounded by blue barricades. The action was covered by Czech State Radio and several Czech papers.


More about Ladronka (95)

The campaign in the support of the squat Ladronka began in February 1995. At the end of May, a public meeting was arranged within the grounds of Ladronka (a former farmhouse) and was attended by 50 people. Squatters, trade officials, Investors and local people from the neighborhood, all participated in the discussions.

At this meeting, the Terminal Club presented its business plans for the transformation of Ladronka into a hotel. However, the neighbors showed complete support for the squatters and refused outright the hotel project. Despite opinions of the locals and squatters, the city council representative declared that financial needs are more important.

However, the reconstruction of Ladronka as a hotel would seriously damage the historical character of the building and, moreover, would have a negative impact on the surrounding environment. The farmhouse is situated in the middle of a park. and if the hotel was constructed, it would be necessary to build roads, a parking lot and other infrastructure.

In July, the squatters organized their next protest demonstration. During the march. the 500 participants carried slogans such as "Eviction is not a solution" and "Money + profit = new jails." The demo passed through the center of Prague and culminated in a "happening" outside the Town Hall.

Throughout the summer, the squatters continued to repair the house and arranged many concerts. Friends from Poland again showed their support for the Autonomous Center by demonstrating in front of the Czech embassy in Warsaw. A festival against the impending eviction and in celebration of two years of Ladronka was held Aug. 31- Sept. 8. Several hardcore and reggae bands performed as well as the theater group Teater Novogo Fronta.

Just prior to the festival, a cozy wine bar and tea room was opened in the cellar. Also, a new infoshop, for anarchist, environmental and alternative literature began. On Sept. 2, 300-500 people (including members of autonomous groups from Poland and Western Europe) again demonstrated for Ladronka and against housing policy. Aside from traditional banners, also new ones appeared: "Free houses for free people," and "Houses for people, not for speculators."

In mid-September, we learned that the Terminal Club was not given sufficient funds from its foreign partner to begin reconstruction of Ladronka. After monitoring press coverage of the protests, and hearing the publicity generated by the campaign, the foreign company became reluctant to finance the project. Later. however, the company director announced to the media: "If we get enough finance, we will ask squatters once again to leave. If they don't, they will be forcibly removed."

Work is scheduled for Spring 1996. We do not believe the situation is lost and the struggle for the Autonomous center will continue. Ladronka has much support. It's a long, cold winter coming up, so we would appreciate help. This community gets no grants, has no sponsors, no funds; everything is D.I.Y. The situation is still open - it's up to us and our friends at home and abroad to resist the pressure of power and money.

Contact: Ladronka, Tomanova 1, Praha 6
Mail: Autonomie, P.O. Box 223, 111 21 Praha 1, Czech Republic




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