Thursday 10 December 2009

Tenants Protest at the Sejm

December 9, the Tenants' Defense Committee and other tenants' organizations took part in a demonstration in front of the Polish parliament, the Sejm. The main theme of the demo was to protest against the law on tenants, which protects property owners more than tenants, and which allows for wild reprivatization of property and discrimination of tenants from reprivatized houses. The tenants say that the law has got to go and burned it and other unfavourable decisions of the local and national government in protest.

The protest was held on the eve of a court case being brought by a tenant which challenges the constitutionality of the law, in particular pointing to the fact that if the city sells a building, it must provide substitute housing to the tenants of the sold buildings, but has no such obligations towards tenants from houses that are reprivatized.

Tenants from all different reprivatized buildings in Warsaw and from Lodz spoke about the problems they face, which include being evicted, getting their heat cut off in the middle of the winter by landlords trying to get rid of them, having their rents raised even 5000%. The tenants spoke out also against totally illegal reprivatizations, where their was fraud involved or against local adminstrative bureaucrats that lie to them and try to help the property owners to get rid of the tenants. Residents of a building falsely reprivatized by a group of people including the husband of the Mayor also spoke about political corruption.
The tenants called on people to be more active, less passive in these struggles and vowed to organize themselves better. In the meanwhile, direct actions are being organized all over the city to defend people against the landlords and the city. Tomorrow people vowed to stop a slumlord from turning the gas off in one building - this will be the 3rd such blockade in recent weeks. Next week tenants also vow to block an eviction. Leaflets are being distributed all over the city, encouraging people to speak up about the problems they are facing and to do something about it.

Media: (in Polish)
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