The Bank Seized by the People for the People - live blog. #peoplesbanklondon

Natwest bank occupied, Charing Cross Road

Latest news: "CALL OUT - Westminster Council are attempting to evict the Street Kitchen, they gave us an hour notice not long ago. Can as many people as possible come down to 2a Charing Cross Road to fight the second eviction. Thanks.In half an hour the council and police will begin they're attack, please help"

If you wish to make a donation please follows the following link...http://gogetfunding.com/pr…/love-activists-reclaim-the-banks

Homeless people in central London have occupied a former Natwest bank and converted into a community space to highlight the triple scandal of bank bailouts, homelessness and the housing crisis in London and beyond. #peoplesbanklondon #loveactivists

See below for the full wishlist and ways you can support the action. 

If you can get down to 2A Charing Cross Road (Mapplease do so and bring any food, clothing, sleeping gear, cooking equipment, toiletries, Xmas supplies etc that you have. If you know anyone who is experiencing homelessness please bring them along and generally spread the word. 

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More posts to follow... 

More photos over at the Love Activists Facebook page

Day nine: 29 December 

From Clare Solomon on Facebook: 

Honoured to have represented the ‪#‎LoveActivists‬from the ‪#‎PeoplesBankLondon‬ in the High Courts of Justice this morning. Not long got out after pulling apart the claimants case and forcing an adjournment til 'not before 9th Feb' allowing the defendants time to get proper legal representation, produce witness statements and, of course, alert everyone to the hypocrisy of the system. All out now for the ‪#‎MarchForHomes‬ demo on 31st January, timing couldn't be better. Well done to everyone involved & thx for all the emergency advice.

http://www.counterfire.org/news/17586-love-against-the-law-the-people-s-bank-has-its-day-in-court

Day eight: 28 December

URGENT CALL OUT FOR SUPPORT: Please share this and come tmrw if you can to support the brilliant efforts of the #peoplesbanklondon occupiers at High Court tomorrow, from 9am, hearing at 10.30am. We need to persuade the judge to enforce their own court ruling from Christmas Eve in which the judge ruled the eviction out of order. Here's the call out from#loveativists just now: "We are in the high court of justice on the strand London tomorrow morning. We will be there from 9am outside the court with homeless handouts. Please come support and make as much noise as possible."

From Love Activists on Facebook

A massive thank you to everyone involved including the generous souls who have gone out of the way to bring donations down and also the people who have given us money donation! If you want to donate to us it would be phenomenal if you can bring along some hot food or tined foods (as we have a gas stove now), blankets/sleeping bags and gas canister for the camping gas stoves would be great. 
Keep sharing guys! And much love and a happy new year from the love activist! We will be here till new years eve/day ‪#‎lovestreet‬‪#‎loveactivist‬‪#‎dragemout‬‪#‎homesnotbanks‬

And from Norbert Lawrie

For me this Christmas - has been the most amazing one ever experienced - I must say that comrades.



To have participated in taking over and putting into use, albeit for a short time, the former ‘Natwest’ bank on Charing Cross Road, has been an absolute pleasure and a memorable experience that will last me along with the many lessons learned for years to come. I am very grateful to all the Love Activists for allowing me to play a small part in their amazing campaign that has touched a raw nerve with the establishment of that I’m in no doubt and won (still growing) public opinion.

Since there eviction on Christmas eve, the activists have not stood around or let up as they man a 24 hour picket across the road from this former bank whilst collecting and distributing food and clothing to the many street homeless who live out their lives on the streets of London's West End. 

On a short few hours spent with them yesterday I saw and witnessed for myself a mountain of food and clothing being donated by the public, much of the clothing being new and very practical such as woolly hats, gloves and coats. Hot soup, tea and coffee being served and prepared on two new portable camping stoves which were bought from donations that have been made to the group, as for the former bank across the road, that was being decorated with home-made posters continuing to propagate all aspects of a massive housing crisis and the scandal of empty property particularly in this capital city.

I plan to visit the activists today and will be helping to man the picket for 48 hours and into the new year from Tuesday. The activists welcome all visitors, so if you have some time to spare why not pop on down for a chat and a cuppa.

Day seven: 27 December

From Love Activists on Facebook

If you wish to make a donation please follows the following link...http://gogetfunding.com/pr…/love-activists-reclaim-the-banks. Howvere, due to the terrible banking services we are unable to access donations untill monday, please try to donate food to the free shop at 2a charring cross road, london.

We are running dangerously low on food at the moment, if you can make any food donations it would be well appreciated. All cash donations are being focused into providing hot meals which we are struggling to fulfil at the moment, hopefully we will have this sorted by this afternoon

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Day six: 26 December, Boxing Day

"We will be outside love HQ at 2a charing Cross Road every day into the new year. Providing food and clothes for the homeless. Thank you for your support!"

From Norbert Lawrie on Facebook:

"To open up and use a building that had otherwise stood empty (all 5 massive floors) for the last two years is not a criminal act but rather an act of compassion and real love, extending and reaching out in an effort to bring in from the cold the street homeless of London and against the background of this government's austerity program, this is the real crime comrades and we should be in doubt whatsoever who are the real criminals here to name a few...Iain Duncan Smith, George Osborne and last but not least the Prime Minister the most senior minister in the executive branch of our government, the Right Hon David Cameron who four and half years ago lied to the people of this country when he pledged to "fix" Broken Britain during the campaign for the 2010 general election.

Let us never forget then, that their crimes are many, and to “fix" Broken Britain has meant sticking the boot into the working people with a vengeance...YOU can trust the Tories. You can trust them to take advantage of any trick, no matter how low...

...It was also becoming evident to me that some of the police officers looked a wee bit uncomfortable with what they were policing, homeless people trying to find a warm place, to be put up and enjoy some hot food and just to have a place for Christmas no matter how temporary it was, which is what the judge had ordered. So with a line of police in front of us someone proposed that we all observed a moments silence for Ian Tomlinson the homeless newspaper vendor who collapsed and died in the City of London on his way home from work, after being struck by a police officer during the 2009 G-20 summit protests. An inquest found that he had been unlawfully killed. For the first time in hours a silence fell as we at Christmas 2014 remembered Ian."

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Day five: 25 December, Christmas Day

Love Activists vow to maintain action over housing:

"Last several days have been amazing, thanks to everyone who have shown their support in whatever form. Special shoutout to the awesome people who have volunteered to man the stalls day and night. Needless to say many thanks to everyone who have donated to the cause, your help has made this Christmas a great experience for those who otherwise would be swept out of view.

We hope to stay at our current location until after new years or we find a suitable building from which we can distribute and provide shelter, we plea anyone who has an unwanted property in central London to get in touch urgently.

We won't stop here until the
homeless and squatting population are recognised and supported by the government. We demand fair and equal distribution of property rights, no individual has a claim to empty and unwanted buildings while countless individuals who slipped through the current pitiful support net die, cold and alone, with none to help or care.

Again, thanks to all! 
One love, bless up."

12.42pm Christmas Day

"We have now officially set up outside love HQ, 2a charing Cross Road. Everyone please come on down and invite any homeless people you see for free food and clothes."

12.42pm Christmas Day

"Due to a lack of cooking facilities we will be incapable of serving warm food despite having a lot of raw ingredients. If any groups nearby can arrange cooking facilities, or if anyone knows of a portable catering equipment company please get in touch asap."

11.55am Christmas Day

"Despite everything that has happened, we are now preparing to set up outside of 2a charing Cross. The establishment can not crush our spirit."

11.30am Christmas Day

Here's a press release one of our supporters wrote.

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Day four: 24 December, Christmas Eve

Here's the wishlist for items needed, urgently need now before Christmas Day tomorrow. 

8pm Christmas Eve

STOP PRESS: #peoplesbanklondon #loveactivists have NOT been let back in the building contrary to what the judge said. The police have found a technicality which allows them not to allow people back in the building EVEN THOUGH the judge has ruled that the eviction was illegal. John and Mouse have been ARRESTED as soon as they came off the balcony and the police are still being obstructive. If we had a 'friendly' bailiff we could get back in but that's a bit of an oxymoron. Any ideas anyone?

6pm Christmas Eve

"GREAT BREAKING NEWS, the judge has ruled the eviction as illegal and we will be returning to the building shortly! Thanks to all those who have supported us."

Article: Scrooge bankers and bailiffs evict Christmas for the Homeless

4pm Christmas Eve

Breaking news outside bank

1pm Christmas Eve

URGENT: the ‪#‎peoplesbanklondon‬ are being illegally evicted RIGHT NOW. Legal advice needed asap as to the legalitly of the paperwork and what is happening to the occupiers. If you're in London please come urgently and make as much noise as possible, police have taped off the street as bailiffs illegally evict homeless people from 2a charring cross road. 

Please share and register your disgust at the state evicting homeless people from an unusued building. They should bailout people not banks.

From Norbert Lawrie on Facebook

We are in the belly of the beast...

Another great day of work and activities at the former bank taken over by the people for the people on Charing Cross Road, more about that in a moment.

The squat was also served with a claim form for possession of the property from the High Court of Justice Chancery Division. This was expected and we remain pleased that we will hold the property over the Christmas holidays. A hearing is set for the 29 December and we are preparing our case, we will be looking for an adjournment to a latter date as there has been breaches of the legal process by the owners, who we can now name as Greencap Limited, there are further grounds upon which to seek an adjournment and these matters have been referred to our legal representatives and working group. I am unable to go into any details at this stage for obvious reasons but will keep everyone informed as and when it is safe to do so.

We are not worried about the latest developments, its all part of the course comrades.

The Occupation has become London's latest attraction with tourists and Christmas shoppers who are taking photos of our poster filled windows and homemade banners hung and suspended from the building.

Our numbers are still steadily growing and we have received many visitors, including families with children who have brought with them the spirit of Christmas as children do at this time of the year and a great boost of encouragement for those of us who know that what we are doing, has as much to do with their future housing needs.

We were very pleased to have been visited by Clare Solomon the Peoples Assembly against Austerity and would like to thank her for all the help and support given in preparing to meet our aim of providing Christmas dinner for the street homeless, we would also like to thank our visitors who have made donations of £140 and in particular comrades from South West London who gave £60, a very big thank you to all.

The moral confidence, the morale spirits of the occupation is running high if not into overdrive as we bounce of each other and continue to fortify the building in the event of eviction, successful workshops were held in the evening on all aspects of establishing, securing and maintaining good squats. A film was shown of the recent struggles of the Greek working class followed by a very lively discussion. The workshop program and a planned series of future events is ongoing and will post details when they become available.

We are all agreed about one thing and that’s this; it’s so good to be in the belly of the beast, and we believe that our occupation can help to bring about change and that we can all work in whatever small way to secure the right to have and hold affordable and secure (council) homes for all.

Please continue to come on down and visit us as our doormat always says welcome.

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Day three: 23 December 

Guardian article: http://www.theguardian.com/society/2014/dec/23/love-activists-rbs-office-trafalgar-square-squat-protest-homeless

The wishlist

10am December 23rd 2014


demo.JPG

Three days into occupying a former bank owned by Natwest but sold on to property developers, it’s new inhabitants a group of squatters composed of homeless people are wasting no time in transforming the building into a people friendly facility and putting it back onto good use. In the community space which is on the ground floor, posters and information are going up on the walls, there are plans to organise a library and today workshops are to be held this evening including a film showing.

Occupation numbers are now starting to grow with homeless people taking space on one of the 5 floors, the whole place is taking on a close family environment with everyone helping each other and of course new friendships are being forged in that process.

I visited the squat yesterday as I have done from the beginning and helped out with skipping for food, skipping food is the term given to the act of salvaging food that has, for one reason or another, ended up in somebody’s bin – usually that of a supermarket. London's West End shops and restaurants throw away tons of good food every day and we have a growing family to feed, plus we have plans to feed the homeless over Christmas. I personally feel we’ve an obligation to use every ounce of food we can, given the amount of energy, destruction and exploitation that is embodied in our diet today. 

Word is now getting out that this is going to be a major squat and battle for housing, that is feeding into the bigger struggle in London and around the country, yesterday we were visited by the Guardian Newspaper. Last night a media working party was held so as to prepare ourselves and others for a possible invasion of interest.

Well that’s my update for now comrades and in ending I would just like to say that we are very pleased to be holding 

the squat over Christmas and indeed into the New Year. I will endeavor to keep people up to date with developments as and when they happen, will be spending my Christmas with my Comrades at 2a Charing Cross Road. So all that’s left to do is to wish everyone a lovely, peaceful Christmas.

 

Norbert Lawrie

More by Norbert: Homelessness: the scandal that's become part of the Christmas festival 

Showing 3 reactions

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  • Gary Aston
    commented 2014-12-25 06:57:11 +0000
    GREAT WORK. RESPECT TO THE LOVE ACTIVISTS. WE LOVE YOU xx
  • Ian Judas Pritchard
    commented 2014-12-24 10:47:04 +0000
    Love and luck from Wales. Hwyl Fawr!
  • Mareth Docherty
    commented 2014-12-24 01:33:48 +0000
    Solidarity Folks from Scotland . Peace , love and a big whack of Direct Action Mareth Docherty x

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