Protesting Gypsy mothers gathered outside Basildon’s town hall this week in a last bid to save their homes from the bulldozer.
More than 100 families, housed on their own land in chalets, mobile-homes and caravans face a huge eviction operation at Crays Hill and Hovefields, near Wickford, following seven years of legal battles.
The Dale Farm community is the largest of its kind in Britain and received planning permits in the l980s. However, an extension onto a one-time scrap-yard has been refused planning.
Tory controlled Basildon Council has been persuing a policy some have called ethnic cleansing. No less £3 million is being spent driving all the travellers from the area.
An open letter has been sent to the president of the European Parliament Jerzy Buzek naming Britain, along with Slovakia and Hungary as among the worst offenders when it comes to anti-Roma racism.
Richard Sheridan, president of the Gypsy Council, says the legal memorandum presented to Basildon on Monday sets out the obligation of the council under international conventions to re-settle the community.
“Tory leader Tony Ball has been told by the government he must set aside land for us”, said Richard. “But we fear they will evict us before this happens.”
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