UK: repression of squats, anti-cuts movement amid royal wedding

Laurie Penny writes for the New Statesman, April 29:

This is England in 2011: as the country gears up for the Wedding of Mass Distraction, police up and down the country have been bursting into squatted social centres and private homes, arresting anyone whom they suspect of having connections with the anti-cuts movement, on the pretext of preventing disorder at the happy event—sometimes seizing known protestors on the street or from their cars.

Digital Journal notes that in the Camberwell area of London, 14 were arrested on the eve of the wedding as police raided a community center called Ratstar. Police raids were also reported at the Off Market center on Lower Clapton Road and the Grow Heathrow squat. Off Market, which runs aid services and workshops on issues such as housing and gardening, is also a squat. Observers say there was one arrest there, and that police broke windows and a door. Authorities reportedly feared a replay of last month’s anti-cuts riots during the media spectacle. In the March 26 riots, black-clad, masked youths battled riot police and attacked banks and luxury stores in central London amid a protest by more than a quarter million against government spending cuts.

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