Travellers did not run amok in a Norfolk seaside town last weekend—and the town was not put on “lockdown”. But racists never let facts get in the way of a good Traveller scare.
According to right wing newspapers, gangs—or rather, a “pack”—of Travellers roamed the streets of Cromer fighting and stealing. Apparently it was like a “zombie apocalypse”.
In fact a tiny number of incidents were reported to police, who said it would be “completely disproportionate” to blame the “low-level disorder” on Travellers.
The sad truth is that Travellers came to visit a nearby Catholic shrine and were met with racism and hostility. The pubs and shops they tried to visit closed, or told them to leave.
Most of the “disorder” happened after pub and restaurant owners refused to serve groups of people simply for being Travellers.
Newspapers and councillors then blamed the Travellers for closing pubs and shops “on the busiest weekend of the year”.
Some even linked the Travellers’ presence to the rape of a teenage girl—even though police said there was no connection.
It follows a familiar pattern. Travellers face racism wherever they go. Cops and bigots harass them. Newspapers and politicians use disgraceful, dehumanising language.
Anti-Traveller racism is seen as an acceptable form of racism—and it’s the racist press and the government who are to blame.