Wide Range. Cultural Focus. Editor Patrick Neithard
Remaining Labitzke occupation activists organize press breakfast demonstration as a last resort.
By Patrick Neithard, Zurich, August 5th 2014
Today at 6:30 about three dozen of the remaining Labitzke activists demonstrated on the road in front of the occupied Labitzke site in Zurich Altstetten. Two, both dressed in road workers uniform, blocked the segment of Hohlstrasse adjacent to the former paint factory right then and there. Using traffic signs and police tape to imitate a water pipe rupture, they forced early morning commuters to turn and prevented Busses of line 31 to run. Shortly before 7 AM police arrived to redirected traffic broadly around the site. Meanwhile, in their fenced off area with pilfered sofas and furniture the activists staged their previously announced “street breakfast”. As since Monday the lawful tenants and the original squatters had moved out in time at the termination of the lease, and had submitted the keys to the lawful owner Mobimo AG, immediate action foisted itself upon a small group of remaining sympathizing activists. In their press release the activists appealed to “human beings who lived in this city and wanted to continue to live, to organize, to question and to demonstrate solidarity”. On the approximately 10’000 square meter area the decomissioning of the old color factory is already under way. Planned is a settlement with 280 apartments. Storied property and apartments will be divided, a three bedroom apartment will cost from CHF 2500. On their website, the activists called for “decentralized disruptive actions in the City of Zurich” and “actions of solidarity in other cities on the day of the eviction”.
One activist sawn off only after two hours
At 7 AM sharp one of the uniformed activists stepped forward to two policemen. The two policemen informed the contact person about consequences of the roadblock, but presented the outlook that at present time no police-enforced eviction was planned. The group of activists however remained seated. An hour later, the contingent of police had tripled, two water cannons had been summoned, while several activists had chained themselves now to refuse-containers. After the arrest of 15 activists police was able to free another remaining activist only by administration of the fire brigade. He had his arms put in tubes, which in turn were encased in a cement filled refuse-container. Until the final opening of the container it remained unclear whether the activist had his arms additionally fixated into concrete. The rescue operation continued until well after 11 AM. It took place in the presence of paramedics. Six policemen carried the finally liberated, and seemingly sedated acting young man into police custody. The Spokesperson of the Zurich City Police, Judith Hödl, announced in an on-site press conference that 16 people were arrested and handed over to prosecution. They now face charges in three major points, such as the disturbance of public transportation, the participation in an unauthorized demonstration as well as coercion. No injured were reported. A remaining group of loosely linked activists were referred back to the area. As per a clearance of the area, spokeswoman Judith Hödl would not comment for strategic reasons at this point. However, the Zurich City Police Department already tweeted at 08:41 “police operation at the Hohlstrasse (currently blocked). The road is being cleared at the moment, the Labitzke Areal however will not be cleared (Wi) “
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