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It’s been almost 4 years now, that a group of about 60 illegal immigrants has been wandering the streets of Amsterdam under the name of “We Are Here“. Refusing to abide by the national asylum procedure, the group has claimed they “are here” to stay and has made it very clear they have no intention of going back to their home countries any time soon. Claiming a right of residence, the group has since been squatting over 30 buildings throughout the city. The latest occupation happened last April, when the group squatted several buildings in a street in Amsterdam-East. The buildings that were squatted, were about to be demolished to make room for new social-housing residences.

People in the neighborhood reported that they were afraid to leave their house and a local resident whose house had been broken into reported she had to argue for four hours before the asylum-squatters finally left her house. One resident had a sign on his door saying: “Don’t squat! Someone is living here”. 

Despite the fact that squatting is labeled a criminal offence in the Netherlands, the illegal immigrants were granted another two months by the Court before they would have to leave the buildings on the 1st of June.

Rewarding illegal activities

Since then, a new College made up out of the Greens (Groenlinks), The Socialist Party (SP), The Labour Party (PvdA) and the Progressive Liberals (D66), has been installed in the Amsterdam Municipality. Instead of composing a solid plan to evict and finally deport the illegal migrants, the Municipality goes against state-policy and single-handedly decided to grant the illegal migrants additional 24-hour care and shelter with a guaranteed prolonged stay of at least 1,5 years, setting aside a whopping 6 million euro a year to do so.

After two years, the amount of 6 million will even be raised to 7 million, offering shelter for 500 people. Unbelievable as it sounds, the We Are Here group has made a statement that they will not accept the offer of the municipality, fearing they will eventually end up in detention centers.

Now what?

Leaving some of the houses in a rather bad state, the squatters finally left (3 days later than ordered by the court) the buildings in Amsterdam-East at noon. This morning however, they already had their eyes set on another building in the center of Amsterdam. In the at the top you can see one of the residences being aggressed when he tries to protect his home from being broken into by the immigrants. Not one arrest has been made. Only two local politicians have firmly condemned the situation and are calling out to authorities to finally enforce the law. At the time of writing, the remainder of local and national politics has so far responded with deafening silence.

Minutes ago, it has been reported that the group has now found new residence in a Bowling Center in Amsterdam-North, that had been squatted before. What happens next is yet unknown.

The picture below shows Amsterdam’s mayor Jozias van Aartsen with the “We are here” ‘leader’.

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