The lounge was in chaos. People were crying, others sobbing, some stood near pools of urine and worse whilst others looking unbelieving as the men in black threw more squatters into the room. The smell of fear mixed with that of fresh body wastes and stale cannabis smoke produced a foetid cocktail. Many of those in the lounge had injuries ranging from bruised faces or arms to bleeding noses or mouths. Most people were sitting on the floor with their knees drawn up to their chests looking with fear and puzzlement at the soldiers as they rushed around shouting orders.
It seemed that Katrien was the only one that the soldiers had knocked unconscious. Mike replaced his glasses and watched her pale, bloodstained face hoping for some sign of life. He felt absolutely defeated, absolutely powerless. Surely this was a dream, surely his sister would appear at any moment to fill the lounge with her magical yellow light and then all would be well.
But she did not, and all was not well. Presumably everyone had now been forced into the lounge because the doors were slammed shut. One of the black clad figures strode through the squatters and jumped onto a low table which was roughly in the centre of the large room. He began to shout immediately. Mike was now sure that the language was German. He could not understand every word but he could pick up the general gist of the speech, even if he could not translate the oaths.
“You are filth,” screamed the helmeted man, his eyes darting from one to the other of the assembled squatters. “Filth, filth, filth. Look at you. You have no respect for yourselves and none for the property of others. You have nothing, so you make a virtue out of taking. You take handouts from the state and you take other people’s property and fill it with your mess.”
At this one of the squatters objected, “It is you that are creating the mess. We are peaceful, liberal squatters. Who the hell are…?”
He got no further. Two soldiers threw him roughly to the ground, they stretched a piece of wide surgical tape over his mouth, and taped his hands together behind his back.
The speaker watched impassively while this took place and then continued: “You give
nothing to this city, to this country or to the world. You are leeches on the global
economy that you have the effrontery to criticise. You are leeches on every decent
man who works for a living, leeches on the people who create the jobs that those
people do, leeches on the services that are paid for by the people who work. Leeches,
He paused for breath and for effect, then continued in the same aggressive manner, “What the hell do you think you are doing here. This building does not belong to you. It belongs to the bank and the bank belongs to its shareholders and the shareholders are good people. They pay taxes, they buy things and through that pay more taxes. They pay for their own houses; they do not expect to live in the bank’s buildings. You are robbing them. But your robbery is at an end. We are going to stop you. That is our job.”