Campaigners continue to protest at the Cornerhouse

Cornerhouse roof protest continues

Homeless campaigners have taken to the roof of the abandoned Cornerhouse Cinema in the city centre to protest against their eviction.

Bailiffs stepped in to move squatters out of the Oxford Street building on 25 April, prompting a rooftop stand-off between the police and squatters.

The building, next to Oxford Road railway station, had been unoccupied and unused since April 2015, when the cinema moved to the newly opened HOME complex.

Loose Space squatters had, reportedly, been living in the Cornerhouse for a number of months, which offered a safe haven to those on the streets.

Group members had taken advantage of the empty building, now owned by Network Rail, using it not only as somewhere to eat and sleep, but also to create.

Aiming to show the public the possibilities of autonomous spaces, squatters, both homeless and more fortunate, had turned the disused building back into a centre of creativity.

Draping the inside walls with arts and crafts, the group turned the old cinema into a makeshift gallery, and expressed a desire to show films in the old screening rooms.

Squatters had also established a full audio set-up, allowing them to put on live music events often running on into the early hours.

Campaigners from Loose Space have remained on the roof of the building ever since the eviction notice, hanging flags and banners from the walls and often playing loud music from a stereo.

One squatter told local media: “We’re not squatting because we’re homeless. This is by choice!

“We’re here to create an autonomous space for the public to learn about the culture of squatting”.

Chris, 42, who is homeless however, also told local media: “We have had people in here every night who were sleeping rough. Every night there is a hot meal that is free for them.

“The only thing that is going to end this housing crisis is socially affordable supported living”.

The council, who deny claims they are not doing enough to ease the homeless issue, had once talked of demolishing the site.

TNT News


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