Some Tel Aviv tent protesters have stepped up their struggle by squatting in an abandoned building on Dov Hoz Street. The protesters have repeatedly said that the tents were a symbol, not the objective of the struggle, and they have moved the protest to properties.
A group of protesters convened at Tel Aviv's Dizengoff Square at 4 pm and walked to the long-abandoned building on Dov Hoz Street nearby, and took it over. They intend to continue their protest from the site. They were accompanied by several politicians.
Protest leader Stav Sapir said, "We support this move, which was independently organized. The country is full of abandoned buildings that are unused. Part of our struggle is about affordable housing, and this building is one of many that could offer a solution."
Sources among the squatters said that the takeover was a natural evolution of the protest. One said, "There is no doubt that this incident is the opening shot of similar takeovers elsewhere in the country. This is a large building that has been unused for years. In the past few weeks, we cleaned it up and made it ready for our arrival. There are thousands of similar properties which could be part of the solution. We're now moving the spotlight from the tents to buildings."
The organizers added the purpose of the squat is to handle independent activity on the site, which will include dialogues and lectures. The takeover may change the logistics of the main tent protest on Rothschild Boulevard, which has affected local residents, and the fact that September is rapidly approaching.
The property, known as the Young Mizrahi House, is sometimes used by the homeless. The Tel Aviv Municipality has several times tried and failed to use the building for public purposes. The squatters said that they would welcome the municipality using the property for public purposes and would hand it over.
In a separate development today, representatives of the students and social organizations held another meeting to discuss the protest's demands. Sources inform "Globes" that the list of demands has already been written, and that the protest leaders are now waiting to see whether the Trajtenberg committee will contact them. The detailed document lists specific demands, which are part of the effort to change the current system. The protest leaders say that one of the necessary conditions for real dialogue with the committee is an unequivocal statement of the budget framework that it will work with.
Published by Globes [online], Israel business news - www.globes-online.com - on August 22, 2011
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