The former Iranian embassy in Bonn has been squatted last thursday and is still occupied to this day. It is meant as a gesture of solidarity with the progrressive protest in Iran, the protesting women, the political prisoners and is at the same time meant to shed light on the need for a non-commercial space of gathering and free culture.
For months people in Iran are taking their protests against the mullah-regime to the streets. They are doing so in spite of the risk of getting arrested, maybe even tortured or murdered. The protests are covering a wide range of interests and topics like the fight for better working conditions, the liberation of the numerous political prisoners, the call for lower prices for food, electricity and rent. The aims of the protestors are also widespread: from a call for a western-style democratic political system to an outright anti-capitalist society. Despite the emancipatory and anti-clerical nature of the protest there are also reactionary forces, like supporters of the monarchy, hoping to replace the islamic dictatorship by another backward system.
The Iranian regime is brutally cracking down on the protests. According to the Iranian government more than 3500 anti-government protestors have been arrested and more than 50 have been killed. Activists are counting many more casualties.
By squatting the embassy on March 8 – the international day of women’s rights – we deliberately chose time and place for the occupation in order to express our solidarity with the worldwide struggle for women’s rights. A world worth living in must realize full equality of the genders. The occupation of the Iranian embassy is meant to send our greetings to the brave women of Iran who are rising up against the patriachal and repressive system. They are among the ones suffering most from the rigid religious oppression like the compulsory head scarf. They are demanding the right to self-determination and the ability to chose what they want to wear or not.
Furthermore we are a group of people of different backgrounds who have come together in order to take a stance in the question of who the city belongs to and how it develops. We are noticing quite some changes in the city of Bonn, some of which are not in the best interests of its citizens (and non-citizens). A measure for the rising interest in these things can be seen in the formation of a number of different interest groups protesting these changes like the „Viva Viktoria“ group speaking out against the gentrification of the Viktoria quarter in the centre of Bonn, the protest against the closing of different public pools in order to build a new central one, a prestige project of the local government. At the same time we are witnessing ever rising rents and empty buildings that could be used for housing.
With some concern we are observing these developments which reflect the gentrification of the city, pushing people with low income aside while serving corporate interests.
So the occupation was also a practical step to protest these changes. We are planning to make it an open space for self-organized culture and politics, a place where people can come together and communicate with each other. Since there are hardly any places in Bonn where people can go without being forced to pay admission fees or buy stuff, we mean to create a free and open space. That’s why we occupied an empty building that was left to rot anyways and want to revive it.
We are now establishing the „Institute for Anarchist Studies“ where a radical critique of society is meant to emerge – be it in a brutal theocratic dictatorship like Iran or be it – though on a different scale – in a capitalist society, that still is putting strains on individual freedom and well-being.
Everyone who is interested is invited to come and visit, talk to us and witness the change unfolding.