The police arrested eleven squatters on Thursday morning, after evicting them from the Heykens building in the A-Kerkstraat in Groningen.
The police started the evacuation of the building at 7 o’clock this morning. ME (riot control) units assisted at the eviction, and the street was also closed off.
It was decided that action was needed after the squatters had been requested several times this week to leave the premises and had refused, the squatters had been in the building since Sunday.
According to one of the squatters, the emergency shelter for Groningen students is coming to an end this month and there are not enough houses for international students in particular. “Without an address you cannot get a social security number, no bank account and no job.”
The new mayor of Groningen, Koen Schuiling, called on the squatters on Wednesday during a council meeting to voluntarily leave the premises. “I call on the squatters, now that they have made their point, to go their way,” he said. At the same time, he invited them to talk about housing issues. The squatters were not present at the council meeting, but there was a sympathiser, who said they were acting as a mediator.
Owner Henk Heijkens said earlier that he was not just leaving the building empty, but that he was working on it to renovate it. The squatters dispute that and stated that he had left the building empty for twelve years.