Update 1.02pm Met police issue press statement:
Update 12.00pm As far as we are aware police have left the Offmarket social centre and Grow Heathrow site, but the operation is still ongoing at the Ratstar. There is currently 12 TSG vans outside the building with a crowd of around 40 people outside in support. As we understand it the arrests have been for ‘abstraction of electricity’ and there has been further arrests of 7-8 people in another part of the Ratstar building. Other occupiers are being detained in the carpark by TSG and it is unknown if they will be arrested. A further arrest was made by plain clothes police outside the building as they recognised someone in the crowd from their ‘March 26th wanted’ spotter cards. This person has been taken to Walworth Road police station.
So far it is a TSG operation in terms of clearing the site and making arrests. The senior officer on the scene admitted (to Laurie Penny) that this operation is indeed connected to the Royal Wedding. Because the Ratstar is such a big complex it is likely the police will be around for several hours, so support is still needed. Most of the occupants living there have been arrested or detained so at present the building is in exclusive hands of the police. The occupiers have an agreement with the owners of the building to live there and this is not in any way connected to an eviction attempt on behalf of the owners, but purely a police instigated operation.
Offmarket has now reopened after raid: http://london.indymedia.org/articles/8891
9.30am News is reaching us that the squatted Ratstar and Offmarket social centres in London are currently being raided by police and the occupants are being evicted. We also understand that the Petroseige squat in Camberwell has also been raided.
Early this morning around 7am large numbers of police in a co-ordinated action surrounded both the Ratstar, a disused factory wharehouse in Camberwell, South London and Offmarket, an old bookshop in East london and raided the premises.
We understand there have been eight arrests so far, all are currently being held at Harrow Road police station. There was a search warrant for stolen goods and as far as we know no-one has been charged.
Also Grow Heathrow, the squatted land site in west London opposing the expansion of Heathrow airport, was raided this morning by 30 or so police on the pretext of searching for ‘weapons to cause criminal damage’. It is unsure if they have been evicted or there were any arrests.
If people can make it to either venue solidarity support and physical presence is desperately needed
Ratstar Social Centre
298 Camberwell Road
London SE5 0DL
Offmarket Social Centre
121 Lower Clapton Road
London E5 0NP
- We will update as and when more information comes through