Wednesday 16 December 2009

Tenant's Bonfires

Tenants are organizing bonfires in the city. These are events when people come out to network. It is done with two aims: to get people networked into the tenants' movement and to draw attention  to the fact that many people have no heat in the winter.

Today's bonfire also became the first public confrontation of residents from Praga with gentrification. When I write "public confrontation" I mean by that a confrontation in which almost 100 residents were protesting and giving public expression to the problem. Plenty of small private incidents have occurred with residents and yuppies, but this was the first time people said out loud that there is a problem that the city financially supports the projects of artists as part of its plans to change the neighbourhood but at the same time doesn't help and even tries to drive out not rich local residents.

The stimulus for this was the planned "unveiling" of an overpriced rubber statue of a deceased neighbourhood drunk across the street from the vacant lot where the bonfire was held. Some artists and politicians showed up but quickly ran away. Neighbourhood residents made this "unveiling" themselves and vented about the social priorities of the city.

An article about this protest and links to photos are here:

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