E15 mum Stone arrested at Newham flat protest

Article @ Morning Star, published 15 April 2015

Housing activist group Focus E15 vowed not to give in to terror tactics yesterday after Newham Council called the cops on one of the campaign’s main organisers.

Jasmin Stone was arrested on Monday night “on suspicion of squatting” after the council reported a local occupation to the Metropolitan Police.

Ms Stone, who was the only person arrested during a raid of the Jane Come Home occupation, was released on bail after six hours in custody.

Focus E15 had been helping local resident Jane Wood reoccupy her own flat after being evicted by the council.

Focus E15 campaigners told the Star that the raid was part of a Newham Council “set-up,” as it coincided with an emergency accommodation meeting granted to Ms Wood at the 11th hour.

In a statement the Focus E15 campaign said it was appalled by the “bullying tactics” of the council and police intended to “intimidate peaceful housing protesters.”

“We proudly stand by people like Jane Wood who bravely reoccupied her home after being tossed aside by the council.

“It is clear that by arresting Jasmin Stone, one of the most prominent members of our campaign, the authorities are trying to intimidate and inflict political-style policing.

“We will not be shaken in our belief that housing is a human right. Everyone deserves a decent home to live in.”

West Ham Green Party candidate Rachel Collinson, who was there when police arrested Ms Stone, said: “We think there is social cleansing going on in Newham.”

She said that Newham needed a new party in opposition to challenge the council’s actions.

Ms Stone’s arrest was followed by hundreds of messages of support on social media, as well as an unrelenting protest outside the Waltham Forest police station where she was held.

Dozens of people, including members of housing groups Sweets Way Resists and Fight for the Aylesbury, stood in the cold banging metal scraps and chanting loudly in support.

Newham Council said that it had taken back “an illegally occupied council property.”

Ms Wood’s property now lies empty but under heavy guard.