News of: Tuesday, May 27 2008,
The Mayor's residence (at Herengracht 502) received extra protection today, after 8 windows had been demolished by angry squatters yesterday.
On Saturday things got out of hand, as a party in a squatted building in Amsterdam East led to noise complaints. When the police arrived, this resulted in violence, upon which the Mayor decided to order for an immediate eviction of the property on the same day.
As this was unexpected, the squatters were furious. On Sunday they demolished several windows in the Mayor's residence, but also at the City Hall, and of the office of the owner of the squatted building.
Since 1927 the house at Herengracht 502 is the official Mayor's residence.
The Amsterdam squatters movement was very powerful in the 1980's, and Amsterdam was famous for its fierce squatters riots when evictions happened. Sometimes even the army had to be called in. Nowadays, the movement has lost much of its influence and size.
There are now rules for squatting a house: a property can be squatted if it can be proven to sit empty for at least a year. The background is that housing is scarce, and apartments and houses should not sit empty. Owners are -obviously- not happy with this arrangement, and sometimes take to violence.
If the owner starts work on renovation, or wants to use the house, the squatters have to leave. As this does not always happen voluntarily, there is the 'traditional' monthly eviction round in Amsterdam. The riot police then move in, and everyone is moved out of the property. These evictions are announced, and mostly take place without violence.
As last Saturday's eviction was not announced, the squatters were furious.
During the eviction illegal weapons were found in the property. Sources say that this may have to do with the fact that more foreigners come to Amsterdam to live in squatted buildings.