For almost 50 years, Paddington Green police station in London was the nexus of the UK’s anti-terror policing operations. Its 16 high-security, subterranean cells have held IRA terrorists, Islamist would-be suicide bombers and prisoners returned from Guantánamo Bay.
But, in an extraordinary reversal, it is now anarchists from groups listed in controversial anti-terrorist guidance who hold the keys to its cell blocks. They have squatted the vast complex and intend to use it as a base for environmental protest.
“We’ve got a whole programme of events [planned for the squat]: workshops, skill shares, film screenings, music,” said one of the activists.