Protesters and police clashed today as squatters who have occupied six mansion blocks in Brixton for up to 32 years were evicted.
While officers blocked off the area in Rushcroft Road, bailiffs stormed the blocks in the early hours to remove the residents, including young children, from 37 flats. Bins were set alight and locals gathered in the street angered by “gentrification” of the area and “purging” of the poor.
A group of up to 10 protesters tried to resist police and chanted: “Stop,” and “No eviction” as bailiffs broke down doors. The Met confirmed at least one activist was arrested for criminal damage and assault. A second man was held this afternoon for affray.
Lambeth council has been trying for two years to remove the squatters. It said three of the buildings will be sold to private developers for an estimated £5.5 million and the rest will be reserved for social rented housing, for people on benefits or low incomes.
One of those evicted, Peter Piotrkowski, who was on crutches, claimed he fell over when police pushed him. “I was moving slowly because I can’t run and they pushed me twice. I’m going to be homeless now. I’m on benefits, £72 a week. I can’t find any place for that money and I need to keep some money for food.” Mark Evans, 50, a carpenter, was evicted from the block where he has lived for two years. He left with his dog and his bike, and said he plans to sublet nearby.