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‘We will strike, resist and occupy’: Moral crusade of West Didsbury’s squatters?

By Ben Lugg

As squatters occupy Col Gaddafi’s son’s London mansion in protest of the Libyan regime, another group are angry for very different reasons in West Didsbury.

The squatters are protesting about plans to evict them from an empty premise above RBS bank on Lapwing Lane.

The five squatters hung banners and distributed leaflets this week outside the taxpayer owned bank, which they claim wants them removed from the flat. It has previously been empty for four years.

The group claim it is becoming increasingly difficult to find affordable housing, and cuts to welfare services have led to massive unemployment among 18-25-year-olds.

One squatter, Eric Brown*, 21, said: “We are not happy with seeing such misery around. We will continue to strike, resist and occupy.”

The squatters feel RBS are one of the main culprits for this growing poverty and have targeted the bank which threatens their seven week squat.

Leaflets distributed by the group vent frustration over bonuses paid by banks to their top performers. The projected £2.4m bonus that will be received by RBS chief executive Steven Hester comes in for particular criticism.

However some local residents are not happy that the squatters are there in the first place and think what they are doing is unlawful.

One neighbour, who didn’t wish to be named, said: “I completely disagree with the squatters. It’s like not using your car for six weeks and someone saying, ‘I’ll have that’.”

The Bank was not available for comment on the issue and the case is now subject to legal proceedings.

*Name changed to protect the individual’s identity.

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