October 3rd 2003, Eviction of Dutch squat De Blauwe Aanslag
The "Blauwe Aanslag" (the "blue assesment") in The Hague is a former taxoffice (Dutch tax envelopes are blue, hence the name of the squat) which was squatted in 1980 and is/ was the oldest squatted building in the Netherlands. In the past 23 years the 'Blauwe' grew into a vibrant D.I.Y. living-working environment containing a concerthall, cinema, food-kitchen, professional offset printingplant as well as livingspace for more than 70 people. The hugeness of the building in combination with the colourful paintings on the outside made it into one of the most impressive squats in the Netherlands as well as a symbol of the potential of the squatting movement.
For eight years the city counsil of The hague has been engaged in a legal battle with the squatters to get the building evicted in order to build a two-lane speedway. Dutch law makes it possible to stretch situations like these because of the slow bureaucratic process but the situation has been looking fairly grim for the last two years. A compromise has been in the works where the squatters would 'trade' the squat for a monumental school building in the 'Waldeck Pyrmon kade' which will only be able to supply housing for a third of the original inhabitants of the Blauwe. So far the building is not yet ready to host any inhabitants nor any of their projects. The council has been said to take back their bank guarantee if more than 10% of the squatters resist during the eviction. Ah ya gotta love politicians!
The situation has been looking grim for two years even though the squatters kept up their hopes and decided to 'go out in style' by celebrating all through September with a huge amount of (inter)national bands, dance-acts and a streetrave. All the legal efforts aside, the counsil wouldn't budge and went the distance to end 23 years of squatting history. Today the eviction took place after the squatters lost the last lawsuit at 2 o'clock in the afternoon allowing the city council to evict and then tear down the building. During the week the place was barricaded and people put themselves in lock-ons in the basement to make sure they weren't leaving without a fight. Again, the building is very big and very dark providing the squatters with a slight advantage over the cops.
At noon squatters were spotted on the roof, as tradition wants it in skimasks and black outfits and started throwing debris on the street below. Local squat radio 'Tonka' has been on the air and the internet non-stop since wednesday the 1st to report from the inside of the squat. Outside the building a crowd of sympathisers gathered and a construction booth was set on fire. The police showed up in large numbers, 'normal' cops and riotcops, and some arrests were made. The streets surrounding the squat were declared "off limit" for the public and anyone violating this police order was to be arrested. The stand-off continued for most of the day while from other regions more and more police and equipment were being transported to the Hague. During the day the atmosphere was rather tense, also because people from surrounding neighborhoods and local football supporters were mixing with the crowd and harrased the police.
At 15:00 there were reports on the Amsterdam police coming to The Hague with shovels and helicopters to break through the barricades and keep 'an eye' on the situation. Watercanons were used to shower down the squatters on the roof and create an opening for the police to put containers on the roof filled with riot cops. At 18:00 reports were made that the police was indeed on the roof and that the eviction was in full effect. Shovels broke down the barricades on the downstairs floor and later on the first arrested squatters were seen to be exited through the front door.
At 20:00 there was supposed to be a demonstration to protest the eviction but The Hague has turned into a police state prohibiting every form of public protest. Even the traditional 'wave demo' for the arrested squatters was prohibited and the latest news has it that everyone coming near the demo will be arrested.