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Dale Farm: Defence Planing

Grattan Puxon | 04.01.2011 11:48 | Anti-racism | Repression | Social Struggles | South Coast

BRIGHTON will be the location tomorrow evening (5 Jan)
for the latest in a series of public meetings being held
to consolidate opposition to the Tory-inspired plan for
Britain's biggest anti-Gypsy clearance operation


8pm Wednesday 5th January
Cowley club, 12 London Road

BRIGHTON will be the location tomorrow evening (5 Jan)
for the latest in a series of public meetings being held
to consolidate opposition to the Tory-inspired plan for
Britain's biggest anti-Gypsy clearance operation

Denounced as an act of ethnic-cleansing by the opposition
Labour Party, it could cost a whopping £13 million and
last up to thee weeks to complete, according to police
and local authority estimates.

Answering an appeal first put out by filmstar Venessa
Redgrave hundreds of people have volunteered to create
a humanshield to protect the children of Dale Farm from
the bulldozers.

Many have pledged to join mothers and chain themselves
to caravans in order the thwart the notorious Constant & Co
bailiffs, the anti-Gypsy security firm hired for the job.
They will also defy the movement of heavy plant machinery
supplied by H.E.Services and George Moore, both
earning themselves a bad name for aiding violent
action against the homeless.

Dale Farm is a long established Travellers' community
in the countryside near Basildon, Essex. The largest
of its kind in the country, it is home to nearly 1,000 people.
Half the residents are now under threat of imminent eviction,
after being refused permission to live on their own land.

In response to an Urgent Action Appeal from the residents of Dale Farm,
including Richard Sheridan, head of the Gypsy Council, the Brighton
meeting will dicuss practical solidarity and nonviolent defence tactics
that have been prepared in advance of the eviction, expected this

Travellers have been living on the threatened part of the Dale Farm estate
for ten years. They have a strong attachment to the nearby catholic
church and their children go to local schools.

The community has been resisting forced eviction attempts by Basildon
District Council since May 2005 when it voted to clear a large part of the
settlement at a costy of £3m. Basildon has refused all attempts to regularise
the planning situation and instead have contracted Constant & Co, Both
Labour and Liberal councillors have denounced the eviction as ethnic-cleansing.

In March 2010 the UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination
(CERD) issued a letter urging the UK Government to suspend the eviction
until an positive solution is achieved, with the participation of the
community,guaranteeing protection of housing rights through provision of
adequate alternative accommodation.

After a long struggle to register as homeless, some families
have been offered substandard council flats. All have refused as
they want to keep their community together and continue a
traditional way of life. However, county court judge has ruled that they
should accept conventional housing and appeal to the high
court is now being prepared. It will be argued that an offer of
land for the Travellers from the Homes and Communities Agency
makes it possible and practical for Basildon to allow development
of a new mobile-home park as an alternative for those facing eviction.

Meanwhile, the community-based Dale Farm Housing Association
has submitted a planning application to create such a park on
HCA land.

After the recent eviction of seven families from Hovefields near Dale
Farm the council failing to provide any alternative accommodation.
All were left homeless and most were moved on by police under
s61 of the Criminal Justice Act wherever they tried to camp.

During the eviction legal observers identified numerous
breaches of international human rights law, including the disruption of
children's education, and a failure to keep heavy machinery within the
safety perimeter.

Two supporters were arrested early in the day, and a seventy-two year
old man, John Lee, had his nose fractured after his face was smashed
against his caravan.

This eviction tore apart a community and has shown Basildon's complete
disrespect for Travellers' right to private and family life and the
secure enjoyment of their homes (Article 8, European Convention on
Human Rights [ECHR]).

The new UK Coalition Government has cancelled the duty to provide much
needed new caravan parks for nomadic Gypsies and Travellers and removed
the requirement to designate land for their accommodation.

Many thousands of Traveller families are thus forced to live illegally on land
they have purchased but where they have been denied through strict
planning laws to set up permanent homes.

Another generation of Travellers are losing the chance of a regular
education for their children, while the old and the sick are deprived of care and
medical attention.

The stand being made by residents at Dale Farm is therefore vital to the
future of Romanies and Travellers in the UK. It should be seen as part of
the fight-back by Roma all over Europe following the burning of camps in
Italy, deportations from France, murders by neo-fascists in Hungary and Romania,
and wholesale ethnic-cleansing from Kosovo, among many other acts of
intolerance and racism that have occurred in the past two decades.

The Dale Farm community is seeking your solidarity. Practical
support is needed in the form of legal observers and human rights monitors,
as well as nonviolent resistance during the planned eviction operation.

Currently, support and solidarity action is called for. In particular opposition
needs to be mobilized against the special funding by the Home Office of the
Dale Farm eviction. Essex police have asked Theresa May to provide up to £
10m to cover policing. Without this funding the eviction attempt might have
to be abandoned.

Send your email messages to:

Dear Theresa May,

At a time when cuts are being made to
many important services, and homelessness
is on the rise, we urge that the Home Office
decline to provide the £10 million funding sought
by Essex police for policing the Dale Farm eviction

This eviction, the biggest of its kind in
UK history, aims at destroying the homes
nearly a hundred families. It is being opposed
both by the Liberal Democrat and Labour
councillors on Basildon Distriction Council as
inhumane, disproportionate and an act
of ethnic-cleansing, besides being a waste
of public money.

To find out more information please come to the information night and
discussion, and look at the website below.

Facebook Group:

Grattan Puxon
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