Socialist Worker

The Dale Farm Traveller evictions—a decade on

by Grattan Puxon, ex-secretary Dale Farm Residents Association
Issue No. 2777

Families at Dale farm ten years ago

Families at Dale farm ten years ago (Pic: Guy Smallman)


In October 2011, there were brutal scenes as police evicted Travellers from their homes in Dale Farm in Essex which was Europe’s largest traveller site.

Several Travellers were injured during the raid, including one woman whose back was fractured.

Authorities cut the site’s electricity, even though several residents relied on breathing machines.

Police used Tasers on unarmed protesters at the site. The ­brutality of the eviction was a stark signal of the shocking level of racism that Travellers face in Britain today.

Basildon council refused to tell Travellers when the eviction would begin.

The first they knew of it was when scores of armed riot police stormed the site early on Wednesday morning.

Some 86 Travellers’ homes were destroyed, which caused Travellers to shift back into trailer caravans and move onto their private access road.

Dale Farm eviction pushed families onto a toxic wasteland. At the cost of some £10 million or more, the intended outcome was never achieved.

Futile 

On 27 October, we will be gathering at Dale Farm to celebrate Traveller survival and to protest against the Tories’ police bill.

We will also call for the release of Charlie Anderson, sent to prison for seven months for the “crime” of living on his own land at nearby Hovefields, Wickford.

We are expecting members of Momentum from Colchester and ­elsewhere in support of the Drive2Survive campaign led by Jake Bowers and Sherrie Smith.

The event aims to remind people of the futile and destructive nature of the attempted “clearing” of the Dale Farm estate ten years ago.


 
Return to Dale Farm - 'Two years later, we’ve got nothing'
  Read More

‘Where I lived is now a rat’s swimming pool’

Socialist Worker returned to Dale Farm two years after the eviction to speak to those that had been evicted. Here are some extracts:

Mary Sheridan was one of those evicted in October 2011. She told Socialist Worker, “I’ve lived at Dale Farm for eight years.

“I was happy living here. But look at how we have to live now. We’re living in filth.”

Martin O’Leary is another Traveller who was evicted from the site.

He told Socialist Worker that the area he used to live on “is now a pothole, a swimming pool for rats”.

The road is covered in mud and potholes. Women are forever pouring soapy water outside their homes in an effort to keep things clean.

Some people ask why the Travellers don’t travel and go elsewhere.

But changes in the law have made it harder for Travellers to move around. There are fewer legal sites for them to go to.

There will be no provision for Travellers evicted from Dale Farm for “political reasons”, say Basildon council.

The council’s new housing plan includes provision for 121 Traveller pitches over the next 20 years. When asked for the reason behind this, the council’s press office told Socialist Worker, “That is a political decision”.

Protest at Dale Farm, Wed 27 Oct, 1 pm at 1-2 Oak Lane East, the yard of John and Barbara Sheridan

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