Friday 16 December 2011

Okrzejówki Brigades patrol and we make more protests

The Okrzejowki Brigades have been patrolling Praga for a week, checking the houses, talking to anybody who is still up in the late hours of the night. We have encountered many interesting things.
(See photos below.)

For example, we wonder how on earth the arsonist got into the last building set on fire. It is one of the rare public housing buildings where there is a domophone. The only person who could have done it is somebody with access to the building. The same is true of several other cases, for example where there were fires in locked basements, but no signs of breaking in.

We encountered lots of fire hazards. Among the problems that the tenants have is that many buildings have lots of wooden elements, especially staircases. In case of a fire, exit would be difficult. Our colleague made a fuss about this 2 years ago and a TV station confronted the head of the local administration about this, who scandalously said that tenants can "go out the windows". Despite the fact that there are clear laws about fire safety in Poland, the city doesn't give a damn because it is untouchable. Whereas an employer would be fined or shut down for keeping such conditions (flammable materials in open spaces, no fire extinguishers, no evacuation plans) and could be criminally liable is something happened, the city knows that no court in Poland would be anything against its bureaucrats.

We went to the local council and made a riot about the fires. They promised they'd do "something". We later found that there are two security guards now posted - in back of one building which was burnt and where nobody lives now. This instead of patrolling or being where some people live. What's more, they don't even watch that building. We found them sleeping at only midnight and, despite the fact that we entered the nearby buildings, called out to each other and took their photos with flashes, they were still sound asleep and oblivious to our presence. This is how the incompetent bureaucrats deal with deadly problems with our tax money.

We have been making loads of photos. Open windows in basements, broken locks, piles of wood left in the houses, open electricity boxes and hanging cables - all these things are clear fire hazards.

We went to the City Council and confronted them. Instead of any ideas, they decided to celebrate Christmas early and arranged a banquet (again on our taxpayer money).

So we say to the neighbours: these our your good-for-nothing politicians, who only stuff their faces on your money and leave you to burn in your beds at night. The only thing that should burn down in our neighbourhood are their offices.

These guys are supposed to be protecting the neighbourhood from the arsonists.

Probably someone is making money off this contract, but not the workers.

All the fires have been set in the attics or basements. It's rather easy to get in some of them. There are no locks on most doors in city housing. Anybody can walk in from the street. Note that the basement and staircase are made from wood.

At the fire department.

Many basements and attics are full of wood.

Some people use it for heat in the winter, some people have gas canisters. 

There is no heat in 90% of such houses in the neighbourhood. In addition to the arsons, some fires happen by accident every winter.

People heat this way because they cannot afford electric heating - and it is freezing.

There are many holes. Not only can a fire be set, but water goes into basements this way. And rats.

Cables all over.

Note the lovely condition of public housing. This is the result of years of corruption and neglect.

Typical state of electricity boxes.

200,000 people still live in public housing in Warsaw. Despite the grave situation, social protests are still small. However we are determined to raise resistance in the neighbourhood.

 Some popular slogans include: "Evict the politicians before they evict you" and "you can't burn us all" - a reference to the murder of Jolanta Brzeska.

In Praga, this slogan also refers to the arsons.