Thursday, November 03, 2005
More on the eviction order at Rhino, a Geneva squat that has been in existence for 17 years, from swissinfo.
It's the classic political strategy. The public prosecutor says the "illegal tenants" must be evicted by Nov. 22nd to allow the landlord to build large, low-cost flats. Yeah right: the building's privately owned and, as this swissinfo article on the housing crisis in Geneva notes, landlords contend that they cannot make money because of a governmental regulation that two-thirds of all new homes built in the canton (the swiss version of a state) be cheap and affordable.
Yet that's exactly the route this private owner says he's going to take.
Think about it: the squatters saved the building after it was abandoned. For 17 years, they prevented it from decaying. And now they're willing to pay rent. "We have always been prepared to pay rent since the beginning," one of them told swissinfo. "The goal has been to have a communal lease, but the offers that have been made to us have been crazy."
The landlord bought the building in 1998. He knew there were squatters there. He knew they had been there for a decade. Their occupation was open and notorious. Why is the government now doing his bidding?