Tuesday 19 January 2010

Tenants Occupy Housing Adminstration

A group of tenants are occupying the local housing adminstration and carrying out a hunger strike. More than 150 families are soon to have their gas cut off under the pretext of "saving" them from "danger". The Tenants Defense Committee intervened the first time when the city threatened to turn off the gas. During the intervention, which was filmed, the gas inspectors said that all problems with gas were minor and could be fixed very simply, within hours and one of the housing inspectors promised to do so. Despite this, the borough president intervened and put pressure on local authorities, basically saying that the gas must be turned off.

(Previous articles in English about the problem of these tenants here  and here .)

It is clear from the behaviour of the politicians that the property is simply slated for development. Today tenants were basically told as much when they were told to apply for new housing. (If their house was to be repaired, they would have been told about temporary replacement housing.) All these families are about to get treated to slumlord tactics to try and harrass them out of their houses.

The tenants do not agree to accept this. More than 30 people from this building joined the Committee and today decided that they would occupy the housing authority, go on hunger strike and carry out different protests. Many people joined in the protest during the day. About 20 people are staying their overnight.

There were some problems with the borough president, who ran away and with security guards who hit an old lady and a TV journalist. Also, one person felt bad even after just a half day of hunger strike and had to be taken to the hospital.

Last week the public prosecutor's office started to investigate this case  but there is political pressure not to file charges.

The Committee plans to continue protests and not let the politicians rest until they stop harrassing people and endagering their well-being just to make a profit.

Some photos from the occupation are here:

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