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State must foot costly squat eviction bill

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State must foot costly squat eviction bill
A scene from the eviction. Photo: APA/Oczeret
10:18 CEST+02:00
The interior ministry has said that the state will have to foot the bill for evicting a squat in Vienna last summer- which came to €870,000.

1,454 police were on duty on July 28th for a ten hour operation to evict 19 squatters from a house in the 2nd district. Many of the police were dressed in riot gear and equipped with water hoses. 31 people were arrested.

The house in Mühlfeldgasse had been occupied by the activists - who called themselves Pizzeria Anarchia - for over two years.

The owners of the building had actually invited them to move into an empty apartment for six months, rent free. The building was badly in need of renovations and the owners hoped that the anarchists would scare off the older tenants who were refusing to move, and clear the way for a new real estate project.

However, the squatters became sympathetic to the tenants' plight, and decided to stay - so the owners requested they be evicted.

Interior Ministry spokesman Karl-Heinz Grundböck said there was no legal case for retrieving the cost of the police operation from the building's owners - and that whether or not they had invited the anarchists in was “irrelevant” legally.

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