Olympic sized evictions

2 articles about the PFI style robbers that are the Olympics. ( bet these wouldn’t have got published a few months ago…..) . And you just thought that the logo was shite….Makes the propaganda on London Tonight seem even sicker as the attack on the poor and property specualtion reaches new depths.

Olympics Displace 2 Million

Tuesday June 5, 2007 10:46 AM
By ERICA BULMAN AP Sports Writer

GENEVA (AP) – The Olympic Games have displaced more than 2 million people in the last 20 years,mostly minorities such as the homeless and poor, a rights group said Tuesday.

Some 1.5 million people will have been displaced by the Beijing Games alone, according to a reportby the Geneva-based Center on Housing Rights and Evictions.

“Our research shows that little has changed since 1988 when 720,000 people were forcibly displacedin Seoul, South Korea, in preparation for the Summer Olympic Games,” said Jean du Plessis, COHRE’s executive director. “It is shocking and entirely unacceptable that 1.25 million people have already been displaced in Beijing, in preparation for the 2008 Games, in flagrant violation oftheir right to adequate housing.”

The Chinese Foreign Ministry rejected the figures as “groundless.

Some 6,037 households have been demolished since 2002 to make way for nine venues in the process ofpreparing for the 2008 Olympic Games, spokeswoman Jiang Yu said.

“Those citizens have received cash compensation and been properly resettled. Not one single household has been forced to move out of Beijing,” Jiang said.

IOC spokeswoman Giselle Davies told The Associated Press that the study “touches upon a very important subject,” and that the IOC planned to attend a COHRE workshop addressing the issue June 14-15.

“We want to dialogue fully with them and the UN to understand the figures more fully,” Daviessaid. “We’d like to get a better understanding of the issues and see what international norms and UN standards exist that could serve as guidelines for governments in the future.”

The three-year study covered seven past and future Olympic host cities – Seoul, Barcelona, Atlanta, Sydney, Athens, Beijing and London.

The report, titled “Fair Play for Housing Rights: Mega-Events, Olympic Games and Housing Rights,” also examines other major international events such as the soccer World Cup, World Expos, IMF/World Bank conferences and even beauty pageants such as the Miss World and Miss Universe contests. The study says that large-scale events often lead to rising housing costs, resulting in forced evictions, displacement and criminalization of homelessness.

Five years ahead of the London 2012 Olympics, more than 1,000 people face the threat of
displacement from their homes, while housing prices are escalating, the study said.

The report said organizers of the 2010 Vancouver Games had vowed to respect housing rights, but preparations already have led to the loss of 700 low-income housing units and the conversion of inexpensive housing into tourist accommodations has displaced hundreds of poor and elderly.

Past games were often worse:
– For the 1988 Olympics in Seoul, 720,000 people were forcibly evicted from their homes and homeless people were rounded up and detained in facilities outside the city, the report said.
Development and urbanization led to unaffordable housing.
– Leading up to the 1992 Barcelona Olympics, more than 400 families were displaced to make room for the Olympic Village, 20 families were evicted from the site of the Olympic stadium and 200 other families were displaced for the construction of ring roads. Housing prices and rents increased 139 and 149 percent respectively during the six-year period before the games and the lack of affordable housing forced low-income earners out of the city.
– For the 1996 Atlanta Games, some 30,000 poor residents were displaced due to gentrification.About 2,000 public housing units were demolished. Legislation was introduced to criminalize homelessness, the report said.
– Legislative measures also were introduced ahead of the 2004 Athens Olympics to simplify the expropriation of private property. Hundreds of Roma were evicted from their settlements. //nb.homeless people were also l,ovked up and stuck in mental hospitals
– Because the main sporting complex for the 2000 Sydney Games was built on surplus government wasteland, no one was directly evicted or displaced for those games. But the city’s gentrification led to house prices more than doubling between 1996 and 2003. Rents soared 40 percent, forcing many to move to the city’s fringe.
The study was undertaken in partnership with the Geneva International Academic Network, the U.N.Center for Human Settlements known as HABITAT, the Special Adviser to the UN Secretary General on Sport for Development and Peace, and the New York University Law School among others.

Evictions of the poor, along with mentally ill people and beggars,
are one of the games’ best-established traditions

by George Monbiot, Tuesday June 12, 2007 – The Guardian
http://www.guardian
.co.uk/commentis
free/story/
0,,2100794,
00.html

Everything we have been told about the Olympic legacy turns out to be
bunkum. The games are supposed to encourage us to play sport; they
are meant to produce resounding economic benefits and help the poor.
It’s all untrue. As the evictions in London begin, a new report shows
that the only certain Olympic legacy is a transfer of wealth from the
poor to the rich.

Both Lord Coe and Tessa Jowell, the sports secretary, like the
boosters for every city to have bid for the Olympics, have claimed
that the games will lever us off our sofas and turn us into a nation
of athletes. But Jowell knows this is nonsense. In 2002 her
department published a report which found that “hosting events is not
an effective, value-for-money method of achieving … a sustained
increase in mass participation”
. One study suggests that the Olympics
might even reduce our physical activity: we stay indoors watching
them on TV, rather than kicking a ball around outside. And this is
before we consider the effects of draining the national lottery:
Sport England will lose £100m.

The government’s favourite thinktanks, Demos and the Institute for
Public Policy Research, examined the claim that the Olympics produce
a lasting economic boom. They found that “there is no guaranteed
beneficial legacy from hosting an Olympic games … and there is
little evidence that past games have delivered benefits to those
people and places most in need”. Tessa Jowell must be aware of this
as well – she wrote the forward to the report. A paper published by
the London assembly last month found that “long-term unemployed and
workless communities were largely unaffected [by better job
prospects] by the staging of the games in each of the four previous
host cities”.

Far more damning is a study released last week by the Centre on
Housing Rights and Evictions. In every city it examined, the Olympic
games – accidentally or deliberately – have become a catalyst for
mass evictions and impoverishment. Since the 1988 Olympics in Seoul,
more than 2 million people have been driven from their homes to make
way for the Olympics. The games have become a licence for land grabs.

The 1988 games are widely seen as a great success. But they were used
by the military dictatorship (which had ceded power in 1987) as an
opportunity to turn Seoul from a vernacular city owned by many people
into a corporate city owned by the elite – 720,000 people were thrown
out of their homes; people who tried to resist were beaten by thugs
and imprisoned; tenants were evicted without notice and left to
freeze (some survived by digging caves into a motorway embankment);
street vendors were banned; homeless people, those with mental health
problems, alcoholics and beggars were rounded up and put into a
prison camp. The world saw nothing of this: just a glossy new city
full of glossy new people.

Barcelona’s Olympics, in 1992, are cited as a model to which all
succeeding Olympic cities should aspire. But, though much less
destructive than Seoul’s, they were also used to cleanse the city.
Roma communities were evicted and dispersed. The council produced a
plan to “clean the streets of beggars, prostitutes, street sellers
and swindlers” and “annoying passers-by”. Some 400 poor and homeless
people were subjected to “control and supervision”
. Between 1986 and
1992 house prices rose by 240% as the Olympic districts were
gentrified, while the public housing stock fell by 76%. There was no
consultation before the building began – the games were too urgent
and important. Around 59,000 people were driven out of the city by
rising prices.

Even before the 1996 Olympics, Atlanta was one of the most segregated
cities in the US. But the games gave the clique of white developers
who ran them the excuse to engineer a new ethnic cleansing programme.
Without any democratic process they demolished large housing projects
(whose inhabitants were mostly African-American) and replaced them
with shiny middle-class homes; about 30,000 families were evicted.
They issued “quality of life ordinances”, which criminalised people
who begged or slept rough. The police were given pre-printed arrest
citations bearing the words “African-American, Male, Homeless”: they
just had to fill in the name, charge and date. In the year before the
games they arrested 9,000 homeless people. Many were locked up
without trial until the games were over; others were harassed until
they left the city. By the time the athletes arrived, downtown
Atlanta had been cleared for the white middle classes.

In 2002, there was much less persecution of the poor, but the
economic legacy was still regressive: house prices in Sydney doubled
between 1996 and 2003. No provision was made for social housing in
the Olympic village, and there were mass evictions from boarding
houses and rented homes, which the authorities did nothing to stop.
The old pattern resumed in Athens, where the Olympics were used as an
excuse to evict 2,700 Roma, even from places where no developments
were planned.

In Beijing 1.25 million people have already been displaced to make
way for the games, and another quarter of a million are due to be
evicted. Like the people of Seoul, they have been threatened and
beaten if they resist. Housing activists have been imprisoned. One
man, Ye Guozhu, is currently serving four years for “disturbing
social order”, and has reportedly been suspended by his arms from the
ceiling of his cell and tortured with electric batons. Beggars,
vagrants and hawkers have been rounded up and sentenced to “re-
education through labour”. The authorities are planning to
hospitalise mentally ill people so that visitors won’t have to see
them.

London is about to establish its credentials as a true Olympic city
by evicting Gypsies and Travellers from Clays Lane in Newham and
Waterden Crescent in Hackney: 430 people will be thrown out of the
Clays Lane housing co-op and a 100-year-old allotment will be
destroyed to make way for a concrete path that will be used for four
weeks. Nine thousand new homes will be built for the games, but far
more will be lost to the poor through booming prices, which are
rising much faster around the Olympic site than elsewhere in London.
The buy-to-let vultures have already landed.

The International Olympic Committee raises no objection to any of
this. It lays down rigid criteria for cities hosting the games, but
these do not include housing rights. How could they? City authorities
want to run the games for two reasons: to enhance their prestige and
to permit them to carry out schemes that would never otherwise be
approved. Democratic processes can be truncated, compulsory purchase
orders slapped down, homes and amenities cleared. The Olympic
bulldozer clears all objections out of the way. There can be no
debate, no exceptions, no modifications. Everything must go.

None of this is an argument against the Olympic games. It is an
argument against moving them every four years. Let them stay in a
city where the damage has already been done. And let it be anywhere
but here.