Squatters occupying two buildings on High Street have finally been ousted by court order.
Police secured a closure order for the former I Candy Beauty and Boutique at 45 High Street, which had been occupied since May 15, from Bristol Magistrates Court this morning, June 3, making it a criminal offence for the squatters to enter the premises.
The risk of arrest and even imprisonment led to occupants deciding that resistance to eviction was not feasible and so moved out voluntarily, in contrast to the eviction of the PigeonShit Collective in March.
At 14:00, around 15 former occupants sat on the pavement outside Number 45 surrounded by their belongings and a small crowd of supporters. The mood felt dejected but cut with optimism as some sang “You Are My Sunshine” and other songs.
The boutique was first occupied after the occupants were issued an eviction order for their former squat at Number 39-40 by Bristol City Council, the building’s owners.
The move from Number 39-40 to Number 45 was noted at the time for highlighting how many empty buildings Bristol has.
In a statement, A&S Police cited ‘escalating criminality and anti-social behaviour linked to the use of those properties’ as the justification for the closure order.
During their occupation of Number 45, squatters had turned the ground floor into a community bookshop and events space, and held regular open-stage nights.
It is understood that all former occupants have secured accommodation.