The 4 protesters who occupied the house of a Russian oligarch in London’s Belgravia have ended their demonstration and have been arrested by police.
The squatters, who mentioned they have been against Vladimir Putin and Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and needed to open the mansion up for Ukrainian refugees, acquired into the property round 1am on Monday morning.
Dozens of police together with officers from the Territorial Assist Group and a climbing staff spent hours making an attempt to steer them to come back down from a balcony on the entrance of the constructing. They refused police negotiators’ repeated makes an attempt to “gather” them from the balcony utilizing a crane, saying that they needed to be handled in the identical approach because the prime minister. Referencing the “partygate” inquiry, they mentioned they needed to be despatched a questionnaire to determine whether or not they had executed something improper fairly than being arrested.
However on Monday night they left the balcony.
A spokesperson for Westminster police mentioned: “The 4 folks protesting on the balcony of a constructing in Belgrave Sq. have come down and been arrested. A police presence will stay on the scene.”
The road had earlier been cordoned off and at the very least 10 police autos and dozens of officers have been on the scene.
Chatting with the PA information company over the cellphone through the afternoon, one of many protesters, who refused to provide his title however mentioned he was from Lithuania, mentioned: “All our group made peace with arrest as a result of this was all the time one of many choices. I’m able to take the results for one thing I imagine.”
The protesters mentioned they felt their nations have been additionally below risk from Putin. They mentioned they needed to open up the mansion – which they are saying “has too many rooms to rely”, together with a cinema and a wine cellar – to Ukrainians fleeing the battle, together with different refugees needing shelter.
In a message to Russian oligarchs, the squatters mentioned: “You occupy Ukraine, we occupy you.”
This a part of London has been nicknamed “oligarchs’ quarter” as a result of so many rich Russians have purchased properties within the space, a stone’s throw from Buckingham Palace.
The squatters additionally criticised UK banks and components of the institution that they are saying have allowed oligarchs to launder their billions in London.
They declined to say how they acquired into Deripaska’s property however mentioned “it required climbing abilities” and “squatters’ magic”.
“This isn’t peculiar squatting, that is property liberation,” one of many squatters mentioned.
In an announcement despatched to the Guardian, the squatters mentioned the invasion of Ukraine was the newest in an extended line of human rights abuses by Putin’s authorities, together with the bombing of Syria and mistreatment of LGBT folks.
“This mansion will function a centre for refugee help for Ukrainians and folks of all nations and ethnicities,” they mentioned.
The squatters mentioned they have been invoking the spirit of Nestor Makhno, a Ukrainian anarchist revolutionary. They mentioned they might not depart the property willingly and deliberate to barricade themselves in if police or bailiffs tried to take away them.
Earlier than the group have been arrested, a Metropolitan police spokesperson mentioned: “Police have been referred to as shortly after 01:00hrs on Monday 14 March to a residential property in Belgrave Sq., SW1. Officers attended and located that numerous folks had gained entry and hung banners from upstairs home windows. Officers stay on the location.”
This isn’t the primary time squatters have occupied an oligarch’s London mansion. In 2017 a bunch occupied the mansion of Andrey Goncharenko in close by Eaton Sq., which they mentioned they needed to open as a homeless shelter. Goncharenko is just not presently below UK authorities sanctions.