Basildon, Essex: Violent Clashes Expected As Dale Farm Evections Begin: UPDATED

19 Sep


The children of Dale Farm hold of pictures of themselves in a protest


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Video: Clashes Expected Over Dale Farm Eviction 

Hundreds of travellers have said they will barricade themselves inside the UK’s biggest illegal camp as angry clashes are expected between bailiffs, residents and activists.

Residents at Dale Farm in Basildon, Essex, and their supporters are set to be evicted after losing a decade-long legal fight over unauthorised development.

Teams of bailiffs are expected at the the former scrapyard’s front gate to begin forcibly ejecting them.

Essex Police and riot-trained colleagues from across the country are also expected, to ensure the eviction is conducted peacefully.

Half of the six-acre site, which has planning consent, will remain.

Resident Mary McCarthy said: “I don’t intend to go anywhere, I’m staying here.

“I’ve faced constant evictions throughout my life and now I’m determined to stay put.”

Many residents have moved their caravans on to the neighbouring legal site.

Activists have chained themselves to barricades at the site and told Sky News they would not be leaving unless they were forced out.

Kathryn Flynn, mother of three and resident at Dale Farm for 10 years, said: “I’m moving on to my uncle’s yard on the other side for tonight because I don’t want my children to go through this.

“I’m scared of what the bailiffs will do. They smash up our trailers – our homes. I don’t want my children to be in danger, so we’re moving them.

“But we’ve got nowhere to go after Monday. We don’t know what’s going to happen to us.

“Our children went to school for the last day on Friday. I don’t know what to tell them about tomorrow.”

Activists Dean, 29, and Emma, 18, have handcuffed themselves to a pole concreted inside a barrel.

Lying on mattresses, the pair said they were prepared to stay as “long as it takes”.

Meanwhile, in London’s High Court today elderly traveller Mary Flynn will get a final chance to challenge the clearance – but Basildon Council has said the hearing will not delay the start of the operation.

The 72-year-old suffers from breathing problems.


People work on a makeshift wall at the travellers camp in Dale Farm, in Essex. The residents of Britain's largest illegal traveller settlement vowed to lock themselves to their property for "as long as it takes" as bailiffs prepared to clear the site on Monday

People work on a makeshift wall at the travellers camp in Dale Farm, in Essex. The …


The residents of Britain’s largest illegal traveller settlement vowed to lock themselves to their property for “as long as it takes” as bailiffs prepared to clear the site on Monday.

Dale Farm resident Kathleen McCarthy, a spokesman for the traveller community, urged officials from Basildon Council not to treat them “as animals” as Monday’s eviction deadline arrived.

“We are living on a hope that they will realise we are not animals, we are humans,” she said at a press conference late Sunday.

McCarthy promised that residents would chain themselves to their caravans for “as long as it takes” as they fight to remain at the six-acre camp.

The residents, from the Irish traveller community, own the plots of land at the site 25 miles east of London, but do not have planning permission for the dwellings erected on them.

Around 240 people are believed to be living on the 51 plots, but will be forced to leave on Monday after losing a 10-year legal battle earlier in the month.

Basildon Council, backed by the police, is set to evict them in an operation it estimates will cost £8 million and the travellers have refused the council’s offer to be rehoused.

Tony Ball, leader of the council, said he was “very concerned” by claims that “so-called supporters appear to be calling the shots”.

“We wanted to do everything possible to keep residents updated about the operation and to listen to any concerns and address any final requirements,” he said Sunday.

“We are very concerned that tension has increased and it may now make our job of clearing the site in a safe and orderly manner even more difficult,” he added.

The council said that around 12 families had already left the site on Sunday. Those that remained were busy strengthening defences in preparation for the bailiffs’ arrival.

The site, a former scrapyard, has been flooded with supporters — some sporting the insignia of anarchists — who have decorated the entrance of the site with banners and slogans.

The camp is located on green belt land, a ring of protected countryside surrounding London.

However travellers argue that other building projects in the area had been given the go-ahead.

“It’s nothing to do with green belt land and all to do with discrimination,” resident Barbera, who did not want to give her last name, told AFP.

“We have begged for planning permission. We tried to abide by the planning laws and they refused.

“People are getting panic attacks,” she added. “They’re afraid of the bailiffs coming in and killing them.”

Yves Chabannes, a former adviser to the UN on forced evictions, said the travellers were the victims of “a violation of international law” during his visit to the site on Wednesday.

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An activist speaks to police officers outside the traveller settlement at Dale Farm in Essex

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