Saturday the 22nd of June 2013 there was a wild, unannounced demonstration in Utrecht in solidarity with the evicted Ubica houses and the people who are still in prison.
With a short dynamic walk through the city centre, with lots of noise and leaflets, a clear stance was taken against police repression and for keeping autonomous free spaces.
The demo ended in front of the boarded up Ubica, and after a couple of loud bangs the people disappeared as quickly as they came.
The passion for freedom is stronger than any prison! Law or no law, squatting continues!
On the night of Friday the 24th of May 2013, while the terraces on the Ganzemarkt were full of people, the final part of 21 years of squatting history of the notorious Ubica squats in the centre of Utrecht started, with an outburst from the squatters.
The confrontation with the police started with burning barricades, paint bombs and skyrockets. After a lingering process of several months of negotiations and court cases, the judge eventually decided the squatters should leave the house, to stop the obstruction of the desired developments in the building. It is a doubtful verdict, since the current owner, the infamous slumlord Vloet, stated he does not want to sell the buildings.
The choice for resistance is not a light choice. It’s not a ghost from the past, but it’s the reality of today that brings this necessity up. Squatting, grabbed from the box of tactics of social struggle, is a weapon in the defense of lives that are more and more under pressure.
No steady work contracts, almost impossible to get an affordable house, more expensive studies and the breaking down of the social health system became normality. The reaction of the State is solely the one of hardening and repression.
Squatting is one of the last means with which we can defend our lives; an emergency measure to provide in our own living space, to build social structures and give space to anyone who wants to take shelter in the storm.
The Ubica, for now, was the last big autonomous free space in the centre. Even though the prisoners will be released, new houses will be squatted and the struggle will continue… it is good to reflect on this. To imagine how one and another want to shape their worlds and what will for them be the point that they will stand on the barricades, put them on fire and say: “this far and no further!”
Because in the end:
a city without smoke plumes is no city!