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Squatters angry over booby trap story

Alex van Veen

24 March 2007 - Squatters of the building formerly known as Wilde Westen at the Bilderdijkstraat are indignant at the claim made by the police that they would have booby trapped the ground floor when it was about to be evicted.

During the eviction of their Bilderdijkstraat apartment, squatters would have attempted to booby trap the police. Mayor Job Cohen told this to the city council last week. Behind a metal plate used to barricade the building, squatters would have put up two jerry cans: one filled with petrol and one with a combustive agent. A cutting torch could have easily caused an explosion, the mayor said.

The report about the planned attack made national headlines. Cohen seized upon the incident to state that he would have investigated whether squat evictions should perhaps be organised in a different manner in order to guarantee the safety of the police. They are now announced in advance and highly predictable.

According to a former squatter of the Bilderdijkstraat building, the booby trap story makes no sense. “Yes, there was a jerry can with motor oil or something. That had been in the hall cupboard when we squatted it, it was in the hall cupboard on previous occasions when the cops cut open the door [...] and yes, it was still there when we left. For it was not ours, it belonged to the owner”, ‘Jop West’ said at the Indymedia website.

The Wilde Westen squatter is angry with the lies spread by the police and Cohen. “As during the previous eviction [of the higher floors - AvV] the cops take out their frustration on us, simply because we refuse to be used as clowns in their circus”.

After the eviction of the higher floors of the Wilde Westen, in March last year, the police reported that squatters would have attacked them with pointed steel pipes and with chemical fluid resembling ammonia. The squatters have denied these accusations: the ‘ammonia’ might have been fluid leaking from old radiators cut open by the riot police.

The Wilde Westen made headlines in November 2005, after the riot police had been ordered by Cohen to remove a banner commenting on former integration minister Rita Verdonk (‘Blood on your hands’), which incidentally had been attached to the facade again within an hour. Because of this incident, similar banners were put up at dozens of locations in the city and elsewhere in the country.

Quite some squatters from the capital were shocked by the booby trap story. “If it would be true what they write, then I would like to hear from the perpetrators. For then they fuck up for everybody”, commented ‘Anarya’ at the Indymedia website. Incidentally, the editors of the website have moved this comment to the ‘ruis’ section containing contributions deemed irrelevant.

Jop West says he is angry at ‘comrades’ who believe part or all of the police account. “We have always had a good relationship with our upstairs neighbours; we had a day nursery next door. Does anyone think we would want to blow it all up?”

Dutch version originally published at Ravage Digitaal. Illustration: March 2006 eviction, photo Indymedia / Karen Elliot


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