Friday, May 15, 2009

The following item is making its internet rounds. It was originally published in the English language section of the website of the Rozbrat Squat. The version below is taken from the A-Infos website. Poland has a large, vibrant and growing anarchist movement, and the Rozbrat Squat has been instrumental in this growth. The Rozbrat is presently under threat to its existence, and Molly urges her readers to go to the site above to see what other solidarity actions have been held worldwide in support of Rozbrat. the following has been slightly edited for English grammar.

Poland, Reclaim the City – Demonstration in Poznan:
On Saturday, 9th May, at around 3 p.m. a demonstration organized by Rozbrat Collective took place; it started in front of the Opera House. Around 1,000-1,500 took part in it. The participants of the demonstration were also people from different organizations and groups such as the Anarchist Federation, members of different protest groups from Poznan neighborhoods, including those protesting against the F-16 airport, anti-eviction organizations, alternative theaters' members, trade unionists from different unions, representatives of the Berlin autonomous communities, squatters from different cities in Poland and abroad and loads of other supporters of Rozbrat from Poznan, Poland and abroad.
During the rally in front of the Opera house many sympathizers of Rozbrat made speeches talking about the necessity of having such a place as Rozbrat in Poznan, about its value in the cultural, social and political meaning. They also emphasized that the protest was not only in defense of Rozbrat, but also against the arrogant and ignorant city politics considering public space and housing issues. Every speech was met with huge applause and people shouting “Rozbrat Stays!”.
After about 20 minutes, the demonstration under the main banner saying “Let's reclaim the city – against the privatization of the public space – in defense of Rozbrat” started its way through Poznan city centre. People shouted slogans “Hands off Rozbrat!”, “Solidarity is our weapon”, “City not for the investors”, “Stop privatization of the public space”, “Capitalism – cannibalism”. On its route it met different surprises – a huge graffiti on the top of one houses in the centre saying “The City is not a company”. On one of the crossings masked up activists dropped a 12-meter-long banner saying “Rozbrat stays”.
The demonstration had a rally in front of the biggest shopping centre in Poznan, which is owned by one of the richest people in Poland. One of the participants of the demo made a speech about the still unclear story how the ground for the shopping mall was sold to that man by the city authorities The people gathered there were shouting slogans that both the businessman and the city president are in the mafia. During that rally, the demonstration was met with huge applause from the people living in the street in the neighborhood of the shopping mall. One man selling flowers in front of the mall gave out all the bunches of lilies of the valley he had to the participants of the demo. A few other speeches were about about the cultural role of Rozbrat, emphasizing that Rozbrat people never took any money from the city council. Others spoke about the anti-social politics of the city. Also one of the organizers of the Poznan gay pride expressed their gratitude to the Rozbrat activists for constant support of the pride march and announced that if we're getting evicted they will physically come and defend the squat with us.
When the demonstration moved forward a rain of Rozbrat leaflets fell on the protesters from one the windows of one house, and some people also threw flowers from their windows. At that point some of the passers by joined the demo and there were almost 2,000 of us.
The demonstration entered the Old Square Market with samba drummers in the front making a loud welcome. Another rally took place, different activists made speeches, including anarchists from Warsaw involved in organizing poor neighborhoods, also anarchists who squatted Rozbrat 15 years ago. They emphasized that creating alternative social centres is important for building the social resistance from below.
Then the demonstration entered Zydowska street which was not included in the official route of the demo. The cops walking next to the demo were pushed aside with shields. Then everyone stopped in front of the building which was squatted and evicted in January ( A ladder was put against the wall and few masked up people went into the building. They dropped a banner saying “A House taken away from the people is still empty”, fired flares from the windows. The crowd shouted “Empty spaces in the hands of imagination”, “Down with authority”, “Stop evictions”, during the speeches, one of the squatters announced that if the president of Poznan keeps on evicting people from their houses, we will squat his house, because we know his address very well. The action was supposed to show that if Rozbrat is evicted, the anarchists will not accept the situation passively.
The demo turned into a street party. People living in the houses nearby joined the demonstration. After around half an hour the demo moved forward, leaving the banner and a red and black flag on the building.
The participants then shouted “If city attacks Rozbrat we will squat the presidents' house”, “Wait for us!”. On the last stop we were reminded about the support from the Food not Bombs group. On of the people involved in organizing action days in June in Berlin made an invitation speech for the action days (6/06-21/06).
Rozbrat Collective would like to thank everyone for support and solidarity for us. Your amazing presence, energy and active participation showed us we are not alone in our struggle for Rozbrat and for social resistance. Thanks to you we were able to reclaim the city at least for few hours!
Big big thanks to all of you who couldn't come and organized solidarity actions for us locally – Reykjavik, Thessaloniki, New York, Oslo, the Hague, Budapest, Bucharest... who knows where else!
Solidarity is our weapon!

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