“I told that squatter: dude, you have to go now, voluntarily”
AMSTERDAM - Bertus Lüske claimed to be innocent, yesterday in the court-room. The real estate broker, who in the early morning of April 25 last year, with an eighty-ton tracked vehicle and a team of ‘broad-shouldered’ demolishers tried to level the ADM building, "wasn’t aware of any wrong-doings”
The former market trader has learned a lesson. "I have been very stupid. I should not have come along, but yeah, I felt responsible, being the owner. I don’t want to sound pitiful, but my reputation is compromised.” He actually did not want to join. "I was in the middle of moving houses and should go with my wife to a spa. I then said: "You go with your mother."
A sentence of 24 months, of which six were suspended, were asked against Lüske last month, for being a co-perpetrator of an attempted murder. Two squatters narrowly escaped a hydraulic gripper that smashed through the windows.
Lüske was in breach of the conditions of his release last month, since he did not appear at the hearing. Yesterday it was revealed that he had been in Spain for a laser treatment of one eye, which has only 25 percent sight.
Why he at six o'clock in the morning wanted to demolish the building, while he knew, through his lawyer that squatters lived there, wanted the court to know. "I did not know better than that it was empty. The people were living in boats and caravans around the building. Only on that morning we saw that people actually lived in the building."
And they had warned them of course. But a squatter who lived on the second floor declared that she had just in time, pulled away her bed and had awoken her boyfriend before the gripper came. "If I had been lying in bed, I would have been killed or injured." Lüske: "If such a crane comes with that noise, how can you, for Christ’s sake, continue to sleep."
The director of the hired transport- and crane-company, who was called in as a witness, acknowledged that he had not checked the second floor. But according to him it was clear to the squatters knew why he had come. "We did not come to do errands. If you start a Caterpillar of 80 tons, the ground is shaking and you can hear this six blocks away. It is impossible that you can continue to sleep with that noise. In Amsterdam we are not allowed to start [working] before seven [o’clock], because then half the city wakes up."
He had walked to the first floor. "I said, dude, you have to go voluntarily. You get twenty minutes. No punch or shove has been dealt. When everyone was gone from the first floor, I shouted from the window that we could start. When the squatters started throwing stones from the roof, I went upstairs. Then the works were stopped by the police."
Oh yes, Someone approached him with a baseball bat. "A boy with glasses. So I took this from him and threw it away.“ And the director had behaved very nicely for the rest. Video footage of the squatters showed something completely different: that the wild gesticulating man had to be calmed down by police officers.
To the charge that Lüske had beaten a squatter, the suspect responded dismissive. "Pushed, that could have been.”
Lüskes's lawyer, G. Spong, acknowledged that there had been "a small mistake in the organization. But they has tried to do their best." He found that the prosecution had to be partially inadmissible because his client is the only one prosecuted. “That is at odds with the principle of equality. It is incomprehensible that the other co-perpetrators go unpunished."