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Group to squat in Brighton park against changes in law
Squatters have vowed to set up camp in a city centre park.
A campaign group says it will camp in Victoria Gardens, Brighton, in protest at plans to make squatting illegal – and the city council will let them.
The group – called the Squatters Network of Brighton – which is believed to have occupied a building near the Hippodrome in Middle Street and London Road Co-op, have called on supporters to hold a “mass squatting action” in the park.
Changes to the law, which come into effect on September 1, will see squatting in residential properties a criminal offence.
In a rallying cry to supporters the group said: “They take our houses, so we’ll take their city.
“We will resist the squatting ban by any means necessary.”
The Squatter’s Network of Brighton is calling for a Mass Squatting Action on October 13 to resist the new anti-squatting laws.
“This act is draconian, unworkable, an attack on our way of living and some of the most vulnerable in our society. We will not take it lying down.
“While increasing numbers are forced to sleep on the streets, hundreds of thousands of properties are lying empty, decaying and derelict.
“The UK is facing a massive housing crisis only made worse by the Tory government and we – the homeless and insecurely housed – will not stand for it any more.
Hove MP Mike Weatherly, who had been campaigning for the new law, said: “I fully accept people have the right to protest, but squatting in our public parks is not something I approved of.
"If they are there in October then all they are doing is crying out for increased powers.
“The new law will only affect squatting in residential properties, but if they start abusing other areas of land and commercial properties then all they are going to do is hasten the introduction of laws to these areas as well.”
Brighton and Hove City Council allowed the Occupy Brighton protest camp to remain in Victoria Gardens between mid-October and early December last year.
It was finally closed down after a firefighter was assaulted and the council decided the site was no longer safe.
A council spokeswoman said: “People have the right to freedom of expression in our democracy and we respect their right to peaceful protest.
"As Victoria Park is one of our public parks we will be monitoring the event as we want to ensure our open spaces are protected for the whole community.”
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