Badass protesters insist London’s 1.5 million empty buildings are a waste.
Image via the Love Activists' Facebook page.
Last week, a group of 20 people calling themselves “Love Activists” occupied a five-story building in London’s Trafalgar Square. The building, which formerly housed a bank, had been sitting there empty for a year and a half. The Love Activists planned on using the buldings large kitchen facilities to cook a Christmas lunch, which they would then distribute to the homeless, along with donated clothing. But on Christmas Eve, before their plan could be realized, they were served an eviction notice and were arrested after staging a 10-hour protest on the building’s roof. The Christmas lunch was served cold on the pavement outside the bank building.
In an op-ed for the Guardian, Clare Pauling, one of the Love Activists, argues that the U.K.’s 1.5 million empty buildings should be made available to the homeless as housing; legal protections, she says, could be put in place to protect landlords who want to retrieve their properties. The Love Activists says they’ve been mischaracterized as vanadalizers and reprobates.
“I have been squatting for a short time but in the last month alone we have been moved on about five times,” writes Pauling. “Before that I was sofa surfing. It is a myth that all squatters just trash the places they move to and then walk away. We look after the places we have been living in and repair broken pipes etc, so that they are in a better state when we leave than when we arrived.”
Love Activists serve a cold Christmas lunch to the homeless outside a former bank building. Image via the Love Activists’ Facebook page.