Anarchy in the BK! Two rebels arrested at Thames Street ‘collective’ on eve of festival

The Brooklyn Paper
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Cops raided an “anarchist collective” in Bushwick and arrested two of the self-styled rebels on the eve of the community’s annual film festival — and the arrests have the anarchists feeling more paranoid than usual.

Officially, police say that they entered the 19-unit to arrest two residents who were wanted on warrants for skipping court dates for minor infractions.

But other residents said that the timing of the arrests was suspicious, coming just two days before the kickoff of the fourth annual Anarchist Film Festival and book fair this weekend.

“Make no mistake about it, there was no raid,” said Deputy Inspector Michael Kemper, commander of the 90th Precinct. “There were two arrests on warrants because they failed to appear in court.”

Try telling that to the anarchists.

“Bulls—,” said one resident of the collective.

It felt like a raid,” added Priya, a filmmaker, who declined to give her last name.

Few details were provided by police, but this much is known: Two plainclothes officers entered the building, which is near Morgan Avenue, at about 2 pm, and began questioning residents.

Witnesses told this newspaper that the cops did not have a warrant.

Ten minutes later, four more officers entered and led a search of the premises, before arresting two people.

Two days earlier, members of the Anarchist Media Collective began posting fliers throughout the neighborhood advertising this weekend’s festival. Then, suddenly on Wednesday, the residents noticed that the lights went out and their Internet service stopped working.

Then the cops came. No one in the collective thinks it’s a coincidence.

“I think the word ‘anarchist’ really throws them,” said Adam, a videographer, who declined to give his last name.

Residents of the building, which neighbors call “the hipster flophouse,” have carved it into a warren of single apartments, the walls covered in graffiti and the accommodations sparse at best.

It’s not the first time that the city government has had these anti-government types in its sights. In February, the city ordered that the building be partially vacate after determining that it lacked both the appropriate paperwork and a secondary exit.

That vacate order was lifted on Thursday when an inspector found that the exit was no longer blocked.

Still, that brush with the law has convinced collective members to book events at other spaces — and as a result, only an afterparty and kickoff party are currently scheduled for the Thames Street collective.

“I know, it’s a little too much anarchy. We don’t have a program yet,” said Priya.

Updated 11:48 am, January 16, 2019
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