Woodstock tenants will fight against new 'forced removals' - NGO

Cape Town – A sit-in in Woodstock brought the “struggle against evictions to the heart of gentrification”, NGO Reclaim the City said on Sunday.

This followed a peaceful protest by Bromwell Street families and supporters on Saturday. Residents gathered at the Old Biscuit Mill in Woodstock‚ Cape Town‚ in protest against evictions taking place in the area.

The offices of the Woodstock Hub were next, Reclaim the City said, unless they received a response to their demands within seven days.

These included meeting with the Bromwell Street families and helping them secure alternative accommodation.

According to Reclaim the City, the Woodstock Hub bought the Bromwell Street homes in 2013 and the new owners recently secured eviction orders against the residents.

Residents lost a Western Cape High Court application against the evictions and now have until September 9 to move out of the houses.

'Spatial apartheid'

Reclaim the City said Bromwell Street residents took their power back by protesting on Saturday.

“They brought the struggle against evictions to the heart of gentrification.

"They... sent a message: it ends here, today! No more forced removals of poor families from Woodstock and the city. Bromwell Street is now the site and the champion of a much bigger struggle. We stand with them to end spatial apartheid in Cape Town,” they said in a statement on Sunday.

The Bromwell protest showed Cape Town developers that residents had the power and support to stop them in their tracks, Reclaim the City said.

“This sets a precedent for all poor people wanting to remain and find homes close to the inner city. They can fight back.”

It was also a message to Cape Town mayor Patricia de Lille, they said, to stand with poor black families in Woodstock and in other areas which had become unaffordable.

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