Bailiffs and riot police moved in to evict Travellers and their supporters from Dale Farm in Essex today, Wednesday.
Police have used batons and admit they have tasered people. There are reports of one man being hospitalised with a spinal injury.
There are still many residents on the site, including children and elderly people. One resident, Cornelius, had an asthma attack this morning when the electricity was turned off to his nebuliser.
Mary Flynn talked to Socialist Worker while she was receiving emergency treatment. “I couldn’t use my nebuliser this morning, there was no electricity,” she said. “The council wouldn’t tell us when they were coming so we couldn’t prepare. It was horrible.”
Her daughter Mary Sheridan added “How can they do this in 2011 in Great Britain? There’s nothing ‘Great’ about it. We just want a chance to live.”
But residents and their supporters are resisting the eviction. There are barricades everywhere, and several protesters have attached themselves with concrete. This has prevented bailiffs from moving their diggers in for demolition.
Now they need solidarity.
The eviction order does not cover all the plots on the site. A judicial ruling means that some of them are considered legal. These are being guarded by police, and residents are not being allowed to leave.
One of them is Mora, who told Socialist Worker, “The police are stopping us from getting out of our homes. It’s like we’re in prison. This is what happens to ethnic minorities.”
Basildon council claims it is throwing Travellers off their land because it is “greenbelt”. But it was a scrapyard when they bought it. And elsewhere the council itself is building on green fields.
They say they are just “enforcing the law”. But it is certainly not routine to use riot police to enforce planning laws—let alone with batons and tasers.
The eviction of Travellers from their homes shows the systematic racism they face.
Dale Farm Travellers have won widespread support—from unions, campaign organisations such as Unite Against Fascism, MPs and ordinary people.
They have even won backing from the United Nations, which says an eviction could breach their human rights.
If the eviction goes through they face life on the road—being constantly moved on by police, with no regular doctor or basic facilities, and no chance for the around 100 children who lived at Dale Farm to get a stable education.
The resistance so far has been heroic. Now residents are calling for more people to come down to Dale Farm, less than an hour’s journey from central London, and show solidarity.
A fuller report will be available later today on www.socialistworker.co.uk