House preservation organization Torfusamtökin have issued criticism of police actions on April 15 when people were forced out of an abandoned house on Vatnsstígur in central Reykjavík, which they had claimed as their residence.
Central Reykjavík. Photo by Páll Stefánsson.
“It is surprising that such harsh measures were undertaken against a group that had the sole purpose of pointing out ways to improve the environment and society downtown,” reads an announcement from Torfusamtökin that was published in Fréttabladid.
The squatters had barricaded themselves inside the house and police had to use a chainsaw to get to them. The squatters were dissatisfied with being forced to leave and not being able to use the building as a social center as they had planned, as they explained in an interview with RÚV.
Torfusamtökin argue that police must be mindful of whose interests they’re protecting in incidents like these; perspectives on preservation and cultural improvements do not coincide with the interests of the owners.
The organization added that in many countries it is punishable to leave houses empty and let them fall into disrepair.
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