Organisers in Bournemouth who took over land earmarked for luxury housing and turned it into a sanctuary for the homeless over Christmas are preparing to defend themselves against an eviction attempt tomorrow.
Update: The eviction went ahead this morning. Several videos were taken of the bailiffs coming in and destroying the site facilities, which can be found on the group’s Facebook page. One of the owners turned up along with the eviction crew, and spent some time explaining to the people he was evicting, one of whom had just given him a cup of tea, that “there’s nothing I can do” and “I’m just like you.”
The ground on Exeter Road, opposite the Bournemouth International Centre (BIC), is likely to be subjected to a dawn raid by bailiffs, and activists with Occupy Bournemouth are asking supporters to turn out from 6am – though people are also welcome to camp out.
Talking to Freedom, a member of the occupation group explained:
We are being crippled by the corporate greedy council, John Beesley (council leader) and his gang, carry on passing planning permission for luxury apartments and holiday homes, with his own company Quantum Group getting big residential home contracts, whilst ignoring the rapidly growing homeless problem we have here in Bournemouth.
Occupy Bournemouth wants to take a stand and on December the 13th we did that, occupying a largish bit of land where a Methodist church used to stand in the town centre, ironically enough due to be turned into luxury flats and holiday homes.
We made it into a sanctuary for the homeless, where they’d have a safe place to stay and have warmth, food and shelter. It was timed in a way where we’d know they’d have a safe place for Christmas.
We now have around 30 homeless people on site, who would have been sleeping on park benches and shop doorways in the freezing cold, who now have a self place to go with onsite first aid equipment, food and water in abundance and the kind donations and offers of kindness keep on coming!
The response from the community has been just amazing, people coming from all over neighbouring Poole and Bournemouth to drop down donations and give their time cooking, cleaning and welcoming residents and guests. It’s a wicked vibe in camp and so amazing to see.
It’s a totally peaceful protest and stand that is really important to us, this is about raising awareness to the community and showing our corrupt corporate council that we will not tolerate the misspending of our taxes anymore.
The Sanctuary has an eviction notice set for January 2nd any extra bodies which may be needed to take a stand would never be turned down.
The site, which is currently hosting around 30 people, has been cleared to foundation level so is basically a big pit, but it’s nicely enclosed and reasonably safe. Because of community generosity the site is relatively well provisioned and is only infrequently making callouts for sundries, mostly things like coffee, fuel and milk, though a generator would be useful for power. There are also plans to begin longer-term fundraising to get rough sleepers in the camp indoors as the weather turns colder.
Occupy Sanctuary Bournemouth are updating via their Facebook group.
Pics courtesy of Occupy Bournemouth