It's all-hands-on-deck in Bristol at the moment, with a demonstration against the outlawing of squatting taking place on Saturday 14 April. It follows an earlier, more impromptu protest on 30 March.
The innocuous-sounding Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Bill will - amongst many other things - will essentially outlaw squatting in residential buildings, and make even more people homeless at a time of rising rents, lower wages, benefit cuts and an economy in downturn.
Dishonestly sold against a backdrop of largely baseless scare stories about dirty hippies breaking in to Aunt Agatha's semi when she pops down the road for a pint of milk, the change in the law comes despite existing legislation clearly preventing that sort of activity. Instead it provides landlords and property speculators with greater opportunity to keep buildings empty until prices rise to meet their thirst for profit. Pressure group Squatters' Action for Secure Homes estimates that the supposedly money-saving measures will cost an extra £790 million to implement.
In Bristol if you find yourself homeless or in need of squatting advice, you may want to get in touch with the Bristol Housing Action Movement (BHAM) or the local Squattastic group. Oh, and check out Kate's Spark story on squatting from 2007.
Anyway, back to the demo: assemble at 1pm on Saturday 14 April outside Metropolis (that's the former picture house/Wetherspoon's pub/comedy club which closed down in September) on Cheltenham Road at the end of Stokes Croft.