Coronavirus: Hackney Wick squatters ‘left on the street’ after eviction and arrest

The men barricaded the door but were eventually arrested. Picture: Krasimir Zashev

The men barricaded the door but were eventually arrested. Picture: Krasimir Zashev - Credit: Archant

A group of squatters say they have been “left on the street” in the middle of the coronavirus pandemic after being evicted from a Hackney Wick building by security guards and police.

Krasimir Zashev and three others were thrown out of the property, a disused commercia and residential block in Prince Edward Road, on April 29. They were also arrested on suspicion of squatting and abstracting electricity.

The 36-year-old told the Gazette they had been living there for three weeks and they had been thrown out without a chance to grab their wallets, bank cards or clothes.

“It is unbelievable,” said Krasimir, who works in homeless outreach. “I have started to become very worried about myself. I am on the street in a coronavirus pandemic without documents, money or even a jacket on my back.”

The building is a mix of commercial and residential units. Krasimir said they were “trying to make a community” and on two previous occasions police had told the landlords to get a court order to evict the tenants. The third time the squatters barricaded themselves inside but when police turned up they were taken into custody.

It is understood police have since helped the men retrieve their belongings. Krasimir said the group were able to stay with friends for a few days but beyond that he does not know where they will live.

The government banned all evictions for three months at the beginning of the coronavirus lockdown, but amended the decision to exclude cases of trespass, which is a civil and not criminal matter in the case of commercial properties.

Private renters in Stoke Newington are in a dispute with their landlord over rent and last week threatened a rent strike.