firstname.lastname@example.org (dalefarmer) | 25.04.2011 12:22 | London
With the UK Government urging local councils to mount anti-Gypsy
clearance operations over the Easter holiday, speculation has sharpened
as to the fate of Dale Farm. The only Traveller-owned village - facing the furious
folly of a 20m euro bulldozer-led onslaught - is enjoying greater support than at
any time during its ten year-long siege.
( By Grattan Puxon , Dal Farm ) Meetings are taking place this week aimed at deterring Basildon Borough council from ordering the final assault, while voices from within all three major
political parties have called for restraint. Many are coming to see that
exclusion methods will exacerbate a fraught situation, not only for Dale Farm
families and the rest of Britain’s 350,000 Gypsies, but for the whole concept
of the much vaunted Big Society.
A delegation from an all party parliamentary group which, together with an Irish
Embassy representative, visited Dale Farm last week is to recommend that
fellow MPs back efforts to find alternative land for those facing eviction. Their
stance has the authority of the UN special rapporteur on the right to housing
Raquel Rolnik, who has appealed to the UK over the massive clearance plan.
“Land is available within Basildon if the council will only agree to use it,” said
Lord Avebury while lunching with the Travellers. “Eviction can most certainly be
Andrew Slaughter MP, Labour’s shadow justice minister, and MP Rodney Bickerstaffe,
former head of Unison, were among those at the meeting, together with Conservative Richard Bennett, one-time chair of the Local Government Association. Lib Dem MP Andrew George has recently put down a motion asking Parliament to endorse the proposition that there can be no justification for evicting Travellers such as those at
Dale Farm when there is nowhere else for them to go.
Before the week is over, a further team of legal observers will have received training
in London for deployment during what could to be a month of confrontation and demolition. They will join dozens already signed up by Essex University Human
Harlow Against the Cuts, in company with anti-fascist and socialist groups, has
scheduled for Thursday one of a number of information nights held around the
country to recruit people willing to camp out with the Travellers. This volunteer
home-guard is said to number over one thousand, with more on social networking
yet to commit to a nonviolent protest.
Both the Children’s Commission and the Basildon Primary Care Trust have
expressed concern over the trauma likely to be inflicted on children during the
operation. The potential for human rights violations has been spelt out in an
internationally-backed legal memorandum and a pre-action letter served on the
council warns of judicial review proceedings should a final 28-day eviction notice
be served this week.
"We look at this as civil defence," said a Dale Farm mother. "Everyone
will be here to uphold human rights law and stop breaches of safety, which are
sure to happen when people are being dragged out and our homes crushed."
Info Night for Dale Farm
28 April 2011
Original article on IMC London: http://london.indymedia.org/articles/8841