Police Raid Squats Across London

At least two squats – including Rat Star Social Centre in Camberwell and OffMarket in Clapton – as well as Grow Heathrow’s market garden area, have been raided by police this morning.

According to journalist Laurie Penny, the Camberwell warrant was to look for stolen goods, yet the officers despatched were from the Territorial Support Group – “London’s first response to any planned or spontaneous events, which may involve public disorder” (this from the Met’s website). Arrests have been reported at Camberwell.

OffMarket, which also acts as a library and teaching space, has reopened after the raid. A copy of the warrant is available on IndyMedia, stating the police were looking for evidence linked to disorder from the 26th March protests – given that the police today announced they’ve charged five more people after the fees protests on 9th December, it’s perhaps not surprising they’re still chasing up leads from last month.

However, coming today, it’s also not surprising that theories are doing the rounds that the raids were done to protect the Royal Wedding – especially when the officers on the ground don’t seem to know what exactly they’re investigating. Even if there were plans afoot to disrupt Willenkate’s Big Day, have the police been watching the news channels? With all the campers hogging the procession route, we reckon protesters would need a medieval catapult to get within paint-chucking distance of anyone vaguely royal.

Update: The Met have issued a statement, saying 19 people have been arrested “on suspicion of abstracting electricity at Camberwell Road”, and another arrested in connection with disorder after the TUC March. The bit that makes us shake our heads and mutter “ffs” is the end:

These arrests are part of ongoing proactive work to tackle suspected criminality. They are not specifically related to the Royal Wedding but have been brought forward ahead of the event.

You may have noticed that we originally named some other squats. People have asked us to remove these names – and the public domain tweets we used as a source have also been deleted. Without a source, we look like we’re making stuff up so, though we don’t like amending our posts unless we’ve said something factually incorrect or libellous, we’ve had to take down that information. Sorry.

Photo of police at Grow Heathrow greenhouse from the Transition Heathrow blog.

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  • Dan

    “OffMarket, which also acts as a library and teaching space” – Glad there protecting the royals….heaven forbid people become educated and see them for what they really are….a national curse of inbred scroungers…this country has become a disgrace and shame on the police for what they did today.

    • Montalbano1717

      Now even thinking is a criminal offence.
      They just want a people of zombies,happy with football,celebrities,royals,beer and cheap holidays abroad.
      Why they don’t just kill us all,in only one go?
      Ah,yeah,they would lose all their income..the billions that we,the people, pay them in taxes,useless goods..the dreams of rotten capitalism.
      So,STOP THINKING,is bad for you.
      Be just a good slave,as they like it.

  • Anonymous

    I like the idea of abstract electricity, up close its just little splodges but get far enough away and you can charge your iphone.

  • http://twitter.com/gmseed gmseed

    The UK State is getting good at “pre-emptive strikes”. It was used by Tony [Iraq Attack] Blair in sending 600,000+ Iraqis to their deaths.

    It’s straight out of 1984 and the Thought Police. I think you are going to punch me in the face so I punch you first. The loss of liberty in the UK staggers belief.

  • http://twitter.com/gmseed gmseed

    The UK State is getting good at “pre-emptive strikes”. It was used by Tony [Iraq Attack] Blair in sending 600,000+ Iraqis to their deaths.

    It’s straight out of 1984 and the Thought Police. I think you are going to punch me in the face so I punch you first. The loss of liberty in the UK staggers belief.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_CLAMX37NIJREIHWUTVDAZH4OIA steve b

    If this happened in any other country we would calling it a police state- Social cleansing at its best.

  • Rabthcab

    I’ve never seen so many bully-wagons in 1 place as at ratstar just now , serving a warrant for “suspicion of handling stolen goods” – not exactly what you’d call a proportionate use of police resources.

  • Melba

    I nearly lost my house to squatters when I moved to the US, and I have friends who did. Good riddance I say, no matter what the excuse.

    • mk

      Squatting is only legal when occupying an abandoned space, not when that space is being rented out or owned by someone else.

  • ck

    @mk after how long is a property deemed abandoned?