Activists from the Autonomous Nation of Anarchist Libertarians were ejected from a £15 million base in nearby Eaton Place yesterday by police and bailiffs.
Within hours they were bringing bedding and furniture into a seven-storey property once owned by the Victorian archaelogist Augustus Pitt-River. It has since been converted into offices.
The group also intend to use the empty mansion next door on Grosvenor Gardens as a community centre for talks, film screenings and events.
According to Land Registry documents, that house — which has 18 bedrooms — was bought for £17 million in cash on June 22 by the former head of Qatar’s armed forces. Hamad bin Ali Al Attiyah supplied Libyan rebels in the 2011 civil war and is now president of Qatari football team El Jaish. The group said they were not intending to sleep in his house as it is a residential property and they would be quickly evicted. Tom Fox, 23, said the group had spotted the Pitt-Rivers house before moving into the Eaton Square address 10 days ago.
He said: “We thought we’d take Eaton Square first because it would be a better starting point but this one turns out to be worth much more. We will get into Buckingham Palace at this rate.
“We’re not here to cause damage and the courts know that.”
The group says it has taken in homeless people to provide them with food and accommodation during the cold winter nights. Mr Fox said: “We have to be a little bit selective about who we help because we don’t want the place turned into a crack den. We’re a family and everyone has to work together.”