Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Anarchist Artist Collective Occupies Posh London Townhouse

Published: November 10, 2008

LONDON—The tony London neighborhood of Mayfair has some unlikely new residents.

Last month, a group of teenagers, artists, and anarchists calling themselves the Da! collective moved into a £6.25 million, six-story townhouse on exclusive Upper Grosvenor Street.

The group had been eyeing the property for six months, according to member Stephanie Smith, 21: "We had put tape on the keyhole and kept looking through the letter box to see if anyone had been there." On October 10, with several members dressed as builders and Smith sporting a clipboard and a fur coat, the group propped a ladder up against the home and entered through an unlocked window.

A month into their residency, Da! has colonized the building's 30-plus rooms, filling them with sleeping bags, mattresses, and art installations. They've draped an anarchist flag from one of the balconies, changed the locks, and reconnected the utilities, but still have received no word from the buildings owner, Deltaland Resources Ltd., which is registered in the British Virgin Islands.

"Squatting is not a criminal offence, it's a civil matter," said Smith. "If the owners want to kick us out they will have to apply for an eviction notice."


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