Zelenkova squat in Prague


September 3rd, 1997
One month ago 15 anarchists and auotonomes squatted a derelict building near the centre of Prague that had been empty for nine years. They began to carry out repairs on all 30 rooms in the three storey building, cleaning, replacing broken windows and installing a toilet. They also had plans to repair the plumbing which had been destroyed over the years and reconnect the electricity.

After a few days the police came to the house asking to speak with the squatters and to see their identification papers. The police then left without incident. For the rest of the month the squatters continued their repairs on the building .With no further problems from the police or from the owner of the house, they began plans to open an info/cafe and tea room.

Last night, however, around 9:30pm, 40 police from the special Czech "Anti-extremist" force as well as local police, came to evict the squat without any warning. At the time there were just 12 people in the building. When the squatters heard the police bashing on the door they occupied the roof of the building forcing the police to need the help of the fire brigade to carry out the eviction. After five hours eight people were removed from the rooftop and detained in the police cells overnight.

Because of the timing of the police attack, the Prague anarchist movement was not able to come and defend the squatt. Only 30-40 anarchists and autonoms gathered in front of the squatt during the night and the morning, but militant defence of the Zelenkova house was not possible because of presence of numerous police troops.

The whole event was widely covered by the media, with no comments. The short life of squatt was already succesfull - local citizens criticised the police for the eviction and praised the squatters for repairing the house, whose owner left it to deteriorate for long years. The families in closest neighbourhood, belonging to the Gipsy community, also showed some solidarity with squatters.

Last Wednesday squatters had a Press Conferency inside Zenklova street squat, they open door again for it. They had there exhibition of photos with house before their entrance and after cleaning and re-build. There were Czech TV as well, so we do small propagandha in TV news evening. The owner of house told that when squatters re-build house roof (strong injure during police attack ) they will gat right to come back to squat may be but he is not decide if he will write them official statement for some time yet.

David Pickard