The Freeshop at Vatnsstigur 4 is open for business… well for now, at least. Yesterday the group that successfully squatted the vacant building for nearly five days over Easter weekend (before being forcefully evicted by police on April 15th) resquatted and re-established the Freeshop for five hours before authorities shut them down. Being “persistent bastards,” as one gentleman distributing flyers for the Freeshop aptly put it, the group opened shop again around 16:30 today.
Yesterday’s squat was not just about sticking it to the man here in Iceland, the man in Poland was a target as well. “Today is a solidarity squat with the squat in Rozbrat, in Poland,” explained one young man as he used a Sharpie marker to sketch a skeleton onto a discarded cupboard door. “There has been a squat there since 1998 and there are plans to have it vacated. So we’re showing solidarity today and also just showing people that this can’t go on, just taking houses from people and throwing people out.”
While there are numerous vacant buildings in Reykjavík in which to reopen the Freeshop, the group chose to return to the Vatnsstigur home for symbolic reasons. “This was the first political squat of Iceland and it was evicted, just as Rozbrat is under threat of eviction now,” said another young man who is active in today’s squatting as well. “I think it’s a fantastic location to re-squat our first political squat in solidarity with Rozbrat.”
Poland aside, the state of things in Reykjavík is still at the core of the groups concerns. “We just need to show people that we can bring life to a dead town because our town is actually dying. Laugavegur is in the death throws and it really, really pains my heart to walk down the street and see the boards they put across the windows,” the Sharpie-wielding man elaborated, adding that he plans to paint on the boards to liven things up. “I just want to make this house colourful and fun. Even though we can’t stay inside, we’re going to show that we can leave our mark and let people know that we’re not going to stop.”
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