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Hundreds of squatters evicted from East End block after fire

PUBLISHED: 12:49 10 December 2009 | UPDATED: 15:22 05 October 2010

Squatters are moved out with their belongings

Squatters are moved out with their belongings

Carmen Valino

AROUND 300 squatters were evicted from blocks of flats in the East End this morning. The squatters were busy moving out furniture and cases after police moved in to evict the squatters after Tower Hamlets Council went to the court to get the squatters out

AROUND 300 squatters were evicted from blocks of flats in the East End this morning.

The squatters were busy moving out furniture and cases after police moved in to evict the squatters after Tower Hamlets Council went to the court to get the squatters out.

They accuse the council of making them homeless just before Christmas.

One of the squatters who only wanted to be known as Radiana said the majority of squatters were people, some of them families, who desperately needed a roof over their head. But the 40-year-old said a minority were young people who had just occupied the building to hold parties.

Squatters said the building had been standing empty for three years when they started moving in. But a resident of nearby Stainsby Road disputed this saying residents were still being moved out of the building ahead of its demolition when squatters started moving in early this year.

The resident, who wanted to remain unnamed, said he was relieved the building is now being demolished to make for a regeneration project.

He said: "There's been disruption from squatters, particularly over the Easter bank holiday, when there were raves going on 24 hours and fighting in the street."

The eviction came after a fire broke out yesterday evening at a maisonette in one of the blocks in Cotall Street in Poplar.

Three fire engines were sent to deal with the fire at the maisonette, which occupies the fourth and fifth floor of the six floor block. The maisonette was totally destroyed by the fire which firefighters prevented from spreading to the rest of the block.

Poplar station manager Robin Whittington said the fire had been started deliberately but its cause is still under investigation.


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