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Squatters plan weekend protest in Brighton and Hove
Squatters have issued a hit list of opponents ahead of their city centre protest this weekend.
A statement from the Squatters’ Network of Brighton has named Hove MP Mike Weatherley’s constituency office in Church Road, Hove, and cagefighter Sol Gilbert’s ZT Fight Skool in Fonthill Road, Hove, as “sights” for protesters to target on the day.
The activists branded Mr Weatherley an “all-round scumbag” and accused Mr Gilbert of being responsible for a “particularly nasty illegal eviction”.
Sussex Police have warned both men ahead of Saturday’s “mass direct action” – the first of its kind since the criminalisation of squatting in residential properties last month, led through parliament by Mr Weatherley.
Squatters also called on demonstrators, who are expected to travel from Bristol and London, to “visit” Brighton Police Station in John Street.
The statement, posted on the website Indymedia, describes Mr Weatherley as the “architect of the squat ban” and “an all-round scumbag who has carried out a vicious campaign of hate against squatters and multiple Brighton-based activist groups”. It suggests: “Why not pay him a visit?”
Mr Weatherley’s office confirmed police had been in touch and said the office would be closed this weekend because of campaigning in a council by-election in East Brighton.
The new law makes it a criminal offence to squat in a residential property, giving police the power to arrest squatters.
Squatting in commercial premises remains a civil matter dealt with through repossession by bailiffs.
Squatters have also accused Mr Gilbert of evicting them from a building in Circus Street, Brighton, in August.
The squatters’ statement says: “Why not go round and tell him what you think of this?”
Mr Gilbert said he was simply being shown around the property and the squatters fled when they saw him.
He said yesterday (October 10): “It is not very nice to be made a target but I am a target of bigger people than this when I step through the cage.
“I’m sure the police will do a good job. If it goes a stage further, I feel sorry for them already.”
'Live and let live'
Squatting activist Alex Caspar told The Argus the names on the list should have nothing to fear.
He said: “The release makes a play on the fact that the police and Weatherley and the others feel vulnerable.
“They have no reason to feel vulnerable.
"They are the ones preying on the most vulnerable people in society.
“We are into the philosophy of ‘live and let live’ and have never meant them any harm.”
Sussex Police protest liaison officers have been trying to contact squatters about their intentions.
But the statement on Indymedia urged people not to speak to them and suggested using banners or umbrellas to block their view on the day of the demonstration itself.
It said: “If they’re trying to talk to you it’s because they’re trying to find out things about you.
“Don’t talk to them, don’t engage with them, and if possible physically challenge their presence on the action.”
Sussex Police confirmed they are monitoring the situation ahead of the march.
The demonstration is taking place at 2pm on Saturday, October 13, in Victoria Gardens, Brighton.
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