Put me in mind of an earlier occupation, the squatting of the abandoned Libyan People's Bureau(an Embassy building), initiated by people around anarcho-punk prankster band God Told Me To Do It in 1986. There's a nice account of the squatting of the place - and expropriation of its contents - by Anna Marrian at Animal Farm:
'We secure the door and explore the building, staying away from the windows. It’s four floors of 30-foot ceilings, ballroom sized rooms with plush carpeting and heavy velvet curtains, mahogany desks, button-backed leather sofas and office equipment stacked up in the end of each room. A shroud of dust everywhere... I get everyone from the St. John’s Street squat and drive back to the Libyan People’s Bureau intact. It’s dark and the side street is deserted. Andy and the others disappear inside and reappear thirty minutes later carrying one of the green leather sofas out the back door. This is followed by several photocopiers, curtains, fax machines, telex machines, leather executive office chairs, handfuls of books written in Arabic. The van is stuffed to the ceiling'.
Also came across this account: 'It had been vacant after someone inside the embassy fired on a group of demonstrators and killed a policewoman. After that, the whole staff refused to cooperate in any investigation and returned to Libya, leaving the building vacant. Enter squatters. I went to one of their parties. I remember one skinhead girl trying to balance as many copies as possible of Quadaffi's Little Green Book on her head'.
Of course in those days, Libya was a pariah state following the shooting dead of PC Yvonne Fletcher in 1984, as Embassy staff opened fire on anti-Gaddafi demonstrators in London. Since then, without any change in regime, Gaddafi has acquired quite a fan club - shaking hands with Tony Blair and his son Saif feted at the London School of Economics and by the British Royal Family. Everybody from Anthony Giddens (social democratic theorist of the Third Way), the National Front (current BNP leader Nick Griffin travelled to Tripoli in 1986), the Workers Revolutionary Party and the Nation of Islam have sung his praises. Was there ever a dictator with such a disparate group of supporters from far right to far left via every shade of mainstream governmental opinion?No part of the political spectrum seems to have been immune from this nonsense. In the early 1990s I took part in the International Infoshop gathering in London, bringing together people involved in radical social centres and book shops from across Europe. The event was hosted by two London infoshops, the 56a Infoshop at Elephant and Castle (which still exists) and the 121 Centre in Brixton's Railton Road (which was evicited in 1999).
Those of us at the London end were mostly from a broadly anarchist background of hostility to all states. We seemed to have plenty in common with the comrades from Germany and Scandinavia with their focus on housing struggles (squatting), militant anti-fascism and autonomous movements. However when it came to talking about stuff outside of Europe it was a different story. We were horrified when the proposal was put forward that we should take part in an 'anti-imperialist solidarity camp' in Libya to show our support for the Gadaffi regime's stand against the US and Europe!
Amongst parts of the 'anti-impi' autonomist left this kind of support for all kinds of dubious regimes and stalinist 'liberation movement' rackets was commonplace - seemingly in Europe, autonomy and new forms of emancipatory politics was on the agenda, the rest of the world could make do with personality cults and militarist dictatorships.