Between the 24th of March and 2nd of April, people in over 60 European cities and towns joined our call to the Housing Action Days, and over 120 decentralized actions took place all over the continent. This has been the 4th consecutive year the European Action Coalition for the Right to Housing and to the City called for an action-week and we are very excited about the fact that participation has doubled in these four years. After a short hold during the pandemic, our movements are on the rise again and so is our transnational solidarity!
Many cities have seen unprecedented mobilization. 30.000 people took the streets and Lisbon followed by 7000 in Porto and Bayonne/Baiona in the French Basque Country. Smaller protests took place in numerous cities and towns across Europe. In many cases people chose to make unannounced actions such as squatting a building in Vienna or occupying government buildings like in Dublin. In other places, people came together to listen to each other and organize together. The huge variety of actions and events during the Housing Action Days beautifully represents our larger movement, but we can also observe a growing number of actions involving people from other movements, and emphasis on the intersectional character of our struggles.
Once again, the Housing Action Days showed us that our answers to the burgeoning housing and energy crisis, the destruction of our public spaces and environment are as multifaceted as the actors and social relations that drive them in our local context. But it also showed that we can coordinate and unite these struggles! After all, our local contexts may differ and capitalism may take different forms, but it still remains the structural cause of these processes.
Much love and solidarity to all who joined our mobilization. The Housing Action Days is our collective achievement! Let’s get inspired from it and keep on building a transnational movement that is this diverse in its forms of actions, this intersectional, this decentralized and this militant. A movement that can make a small protest in Nicosia as visible as a 30.000 people rally in Lisbon. Let’s unite our struggles beyond borders!
An insight to the demonstrations:
Demonstration in Berlin: BERLIN IS OUR CITY! ‘Some of us have living space, others have already been deprived of it. Even more tenants will be deprived of it in the future. Be careful - the deadlines for rent abatement are running. Now we have to fight back. While the rent and the cost of living skyrocket and wages stagnate, we calculate how much time we have left. Across Berlin, tenants are losing their homes in a massive way. The drastic consequences of the expiring social bonds are visible throughout Pankow, Lichtenberg and Friedrichshain. because BERLIN IS OUR CITY!’
Demonstration for the Belgian Housing Action Day 2023 in Brussels. Here is their call: ‘Living in decent housing is a necessary basis for building a stable life. Today in Belgium, more and more of us are faced with excessive rents and exorbitant charges, unhealthy housing, illegal and discriminating practices on the part of landlords, an inaccessible justice of the peace, and a sometimes incomprehensible administration. In short, it is more and more difficult to find a place to live and to have the security to stay there!’ A squat for undocumented people was also opened that day but was immediately and violently evicted
Action #HAD2023 in Vienna. Symbolic occupation of a vacant building.
Gathering in front of the Supreme Court in Athens: ‘15 years have passed since the 2008 crisis and the methods of dispossession of people's homes in Greece are becoming more and more brutal: electronic auctions, disappearance of the protection of the primary residence, police violence against over-indebted people, violence against movements, methods of dispossession that resemble bullying (breaking down doors and passing through neighbouring balconies to let cops into houses), etc. In 2021, there were 11,000 auctions in Athens, in 2022, 31,000. But we are here and we are not giving up. Our struggle is growing, adapting and getting stronger.’
PAH Palma de Mallorca held a demonstration in front of the town hall in Plaça de Cort, Palma de Mallorca, at 1:00 pm. On the morning of the same day they tried to attend the plenary session of the town hall and read their demands.
There was a local and national day of actions to oppose the lifting of the eviction ban. Comrades in Dublin occupied the Department Of Housing, in opposition to the recent government decision to lift the ban on evictions. Activists from CATU and beyond held a rally at the Spire in Dublin. It was followed by a march on the Department of Housing at Customs Quay. They were calling for:
- Eviction ban to be reinstated
- Building public housing
- Resist eviction attempts
On the occasion of the end of the winter truce and the European day of the right to housing, on Saturday 1st April the big demonstration Herrian Bizi – Se loger au pays! took place in the streets of Bayonne.
Demonstration in Lisbon: Manifestação Casa Para Viver and Movimento referendo pela habitação initiated a demonstration to take to the streets in several cities to demand an end to the degradation of living conditions and social inequality in access to housing.
Demonstration in Paris initiated by DAL: ‘2023, the housing crisis, explodes! The only answer of the state is the criminalization of the popular classes! The rich and the state make war, let us wake up!’
Demonstration in Porto for the right to housing, to the city and for the end of exploitation through the cost of living; demanding the end of exploitation through the cost of living: public control and price regulation of essential sectors. Redefining the effort rates with housing, decent jobs, increase in retirement, pensions and benefits.
For a full list and more details of the actions that took place during Housing Action Day, see here: https://housingnotprofit.org/housing-action-days-2023-report/
Csenge Schneider and Péter Máthé