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  • Writer's pictureMariia Chubareva

Squatters Voluntarily Leave Historical Building in Groningen After Protest, Police Finds

The police who came to evict the squatters residing in the historical monument found the building empty yesterday morning. With no squatters in sight, a marketing agency can now take over the building despite the protests last Friday.

On October 2nd, the police, along with riot vans, came to the former building of Le Petit Theatre in Groningen to evict the squatters who had been occupying the space since September 26th, reports Dagblaad van hen Noorden. However, the police were met with zero resistance as the squatters had left the building one day prior.

The building of the former Le Petite Theatre © Mariia Chubareva

According to RTV Noord, the Municipality of Groningen sold the building of the former Le Petit Theatre to a short-term rental company CareX earlier this month. A marketing agency who found the building through CareX’s service will become the new residents.

However, philosophy student Daan was quick to move into the building, preventing the marketing agency from taking over, Sikkom reported on September 26th.

Daan faced prosecution since squatting is illegal in the Netherlands. As a result of the court hearing, he was ruled to leave the building by 13:00 on Friday, September 29th.

Kraaienest, an activist group fighting for housing rights, organized a solidarity demonstration in support of Daan and other squatters on Friday, an hour before Daan’s planned eviction. Members of the group spoke to The Groninger anonymously due to the legal threats that squatting entails.

Protesters outside of the former Le Petite Theatre on Friday, September 29th © Mariia Chubareva

Kraaienest members claimed that, with the marketing agency occupying the building, non-profit cultural initiatives, like Le Petit Theatre, will suffer. “It’s a commercial company, they can afford rent. At the same time, beginner artists have nowhere to go,” they said.

“Last night [Thursday], we were having the last meal of the house. And you could just tell the police were interested, multiple police cars would regularly pass by,” said one of the Kraaienest representatives. That’s why they also claimed to have been surprised that the police did not show up on Friday.

Although Daan had to be evicted at 13:00, he, along with other protesters and squatters, stayed in the building for the rest of the day. Alica Plulíková, a 23-year-old student in Groningen, described the day as “uneventful”. “We were waiting for the police to arrive but they never did,” she added.

Alica Plulíková © Mariia Chubareva

Alica explains that the housing in Groningen is expensive and she struggles to make rent monthly. She says that for some people, squatting is the only option. “I am here because I do think that housing is a human right. I don’t think it is something you have to be fighting for this much,” adds Alica.

Kraaienest revealed through their social media that the police showed up at Le Petit Theatre on Monday, October 2nd, to evict the residents. However, by that moment, the squatters were already gone.

Now that a marketing agency is about to move into the building, Daan faces housing struggles once again. “Now I'm just sleeping on someone’s couch. Maybe I’ll have to squat again,” he says.

The Groninger has contacted CareX to further comment on the situation, but received no response so far.

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