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Cops bust Squat in hunt for anarchists after G20 violence

PUBLISHED: 12:00 03 April 2009 | UPDATED: 14:15 05 October 2010

A SQUAT that police suspected was being used as a base for protesters involved in the violent clashes in central London was raided in the East End yesterday. Cops smashed their way into the RampArt social centre in Whitechapel and handcuffed political activists

By Victoria Huntley

A SQUAT that police suspected was being used as a base for protesters involved in the violent clashes in central London was raided in the East End yesterday.

Cops smashed their way into the RampArt social centre in Whitechapel and handcuffed political activists.

Balaclava-clad riot police forced their way into the building brandishing taser stun guns, according to members of the social centre’s collective, forcing around 20 people onto the ground.

Four people were arrested at the centre in Rampart Street, off Commercial Road, two on suspicion of violent disorder at the G20 protest at the Bank of England the day before and two for possessing an offensive weapon, said police.

DENY VIOLENCE

RampArt members told the East London Advertiser that they had been at the demo, but denied anybody in the collective was connected with the violence.

One member said: “They were asking us whether we had gone to the protest, and of course we said we had.

“But since when was it against the law to protest in the UK?”

He added: “I have experience of the Italian police and I would have expected something like this from them—but not from the British police. They are supposed to be different.”

NOTHING TO HIDE

The RampArt centre has been used as a base for political activism since it opened in 2004, and has been at the centre of rumours of connections to anarchist groups in the run-up to the G20 summit.

But collective members dismissed links with anarchist organisations and insisted all meetings at the centre were publicised on their website and were open for anyone to attend. They denied having anything to hide.

A second squat with 60 people in Earl Street off Bishopsgate, near Liverpool Street station, was also raided around the same time as RampArt.

Officers went to two addresses that police believe were being used as squats by some of those involved in the violent disorder at The Bank, said Scotland Yard.

The 20 found at RampArt were detained on suspicion of violent disorder, the Met added, but were released immediately if they were not of interest to police. Officers were “acting on information about people wanted.”


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