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3/1 Gaza protest criticises politicians

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Squatters like flower children

2 September 2008 - Squatters are being portrayed as violent, but in reality, today's squatters are more like flower children, argues Alex van Veen. Personally, he thinks that it's often justifyable to throw stones at 'harnessed policemen'.

In the current anti-activist climate, VVD, CDA and CU have proposed to make squatting illegal. Large cities and renters' organisation Woonbond oppose the ban, because they fear buildings will be left vacant. A recent poll commissioned by het Parool found that 62% of Amsterdammers also oppose a ban.

A VVD politician suggested that squatters are responsible for radical activism. Van Veen, editor of Ravage Digitaal, says this suggestion is an insult to renters and house owners.

On the other hand, many of today's squatters are a lot like the flower children of the past. "They adorn their houses and cycle around with flowers on their handlebars, walk around with long hair wearing what we used to describe as hippy clothes, create wall and vegetable gardens and involve their neighbours in neighbourhood activities".

Incidentally, they are a vanishing breed. Last week, squat historian Eric Duivenvoorden told NRC Handelsblad that the number of squats in Amsterdam has decreased from 1,000 to 1,500 in the 1980s to 65 today.

Ravage Digitaal (in Dutch). Photo: Trailer punk / Indymedia


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