Institute of Dissidents 'Five Star Squatters' (UK) (1 Viewer)


Mar 11, 2013
Baltimore, MD
'Five-star squatters' take over historic office block near Buckingham Palace

One activist said: 'We are not just lefties and hippies, we are very much upmarket squatters now too.'


Occupied: The Institute of Directors in Pall Mall (Picture: Nigel Howard)
Published: 17 March 2015

Updated: 09:06, 17 March 2015

Self-confessed “five star squatters” have taken over a historic office block a few hundred yards from Buckingham Palace.

Activists who entered the former HQ of the Institute of Directors in Pall Mall today vowed to stay “as long as they can” in the six-storey period building.

The multi-million pound office designed by Scottish architect Alexander Peebles and built in the 1880s is less than 200 yards from Trafalgar Square and 700 yards from Buckingham Palace.

The building - which its new occupiers have dubbed the Institute of Dissidents - features a grand staircase, plush meeting rooms and luxurious bathrooms.

'Five star': the squatters pictured inside the occupied building in Pall Mall (Picture: Nigel Howard)At least 40 squatters are hosting workshops, film screenings and a soup kitchen for the homeless in the “radical space”.

A member of the Autonomous Nation of Anarchist Libertarians said the activists “enjoyed living in the luxurious, five star conditions”.

'Class war': The squatters insisted they are not 'hippies' (Picture: Nigel Howard)He said: “We are not just lefties and hippies, we are very much upmarket squatters now too. The building was empty so why can’t we use it?

“We are respecting the interior. There will be no graffiti, there will be no drug taking.

On the inside: Squatters have vowed to occupy the building for as long as possible (Picture: Nigel Howard)“We want to make a statement that buildings worth millions of pounds are standing empty in the heart of this city where people cannot afford to live and people are desperate for housing.”

Despite their claims a plaque in the lobby honouring the reopening of the building in 2001 by Tony Blair has been defaced with the word “traitor”.

Exclusive: The Institute of Directors in Pall Mall (Picture: Nigel Howard)A red and black flag has also been hoisted on a pole outside and the front has been draped with banners proclaiming their “anti-capitalist” intent.

The activists have used their occupation of the building to launch an attack on the IOD, which it claimed was interested “only in the needs of the rich”.

Occupied: Squatters have vowed to stay as long as possible (Picture: Nigel Howard)But the business cheerleaders handed back the lease and vacated the building last year after an expansion at their headquarters yards down the road.

A spokesman said: “We vacated this building six months ago, but there’s a chance there are some old Hayek or Adam Smith books left behind. Who knows, perhaps they’ll learn something.”
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