Housing for the 99
London Fire Brigade extinguished a fire started by protesters on Rushcroft Road (Housing for the 99/Twitter)

Protesters have clashed with police in Brixton, south London, over the eviction of over 70 squatters, including young children, who have lived on Rushcroft Road for decades.

Police broke into the properties on the street to remove the residents. Locals joined the squatters protesting against the evictions - many of those being evicted were well known in the community.

A group started a fire in the street, while police and bailiffs were filmed manhandling protesters as they tried to block the entrance to the buildings.

London Fire Brigade was called to extinguish the fire and one activist was arrested on suspicion of assault and criminal damage.

Protesters clashed with police over the evictions (Kim Taylor/Twitter)

The squatters had offered to set up a housing co-operative where they worked to keep the buildings liveable. They said the council had left the properties to rot and is only taking action now because the area has become more desirable.

The nearby Clifton Mansions, from which squatters were evicted two years ago, has been sold off to private buyers and not used as council housing.

Locals and squatters chanted against the "gentrification" of Brixton, shouting "no eviction" as the bailiffs broke into the 40 flats.

One person was arrested on Rushcroft Road over the clash (Sim Rollison/Twitter)

Lambeth Council said the squatters had not paid rent on the properties since 2000: "It is unfair on the thousands of residents in need of housing in Lambeth that a small minority have been unlawfully squatting in six mansion blocks on Rushcroft Road, Brixton, and not paying any rent or council tax," it said.

"Following the eviction of the unauthorised occupants, three of the six blocks in Rushcroft Road will be sold to bring the remaining three blocks back into use as 22 new homes for social rent. This is one example of our work to deliver better homes for Lambeth residents."

Lambeth Council will sell three of the buildings for around £5.5m, the Evening Standard said. Some of the privately owned flats are being sold for up to £475,000.

Rushcroft Road
Police shut off Rushcroft Road ahead of the eviction (TheRankingMissP/Twitter)

Julian Hall, of Lambeth United Housing Co-operative, told the newspaper:

"It's completely in line with the kind of gentrification community purge that Lambeth are enacting. Lambeth is Labour-run, and people need to know that Labour councils are just a guilty of purging communities as any other council."

The Urban 75 blog said it was a "sad day for Brixton": "Another large chunk of what made Brixton so unique was lost today, as a masses of police officers and High Court Enforcement Officers evicted 75 residents out of their homes in Rushcroft Road this morning," it said.