Copyleft - Information for direct action - Published weekly in Brighton since 1994

Home | Friday 21st October 2011 | Issue 793

Back to the Full Issue

DALE FARM EVICTED

AS IRISH TRAVELLERS ETHNICALLY CLEANSED FROM ESSEX

At 7am on Wednesday (19th) morning hundreds of riot police stormed the rear of Dale Farm (see SchNEWS 669, 785). They met with stiff resistance on the barricades, resorting to Tasering at least one person as they ran away from them. Eventually breaching the outer wall of the site, police then had to fight their way through several more roving barricades (some aflame) as they made their way to the main gate under a hail of half-bricks.

The nature of the attack surprised even the most battle hardened protesters on site. There was no visible attempt to deploy evidence gathering teams and barely any media present until later in the day (though one camera crew did get footage of the first Tasering of the morning). In the words of one activist “it was a more continental style of policing”, with police relying more on physical violence than the threat of judicial violence.

Only once police had secured the rear of the main gate were any arrests even attempted. A couple of people got taken by a snatch squad, but the vast majority of arrests were of protesters manning towers and lock-ons. Others were able to regroup and attack lines of cops almost at leisure, with the  bulk of the police guarding the main gate from the inside. During the clearing of the gate one quick witted activist managed to D-lock a cherry picker to the scaffold tower it was sent in to evict. Though a couple of attempts were made to get more territory under police control they were quickly forced to retreat. Despite the police claim (circulated widely by most media present) that they had secured the whole of the site within 45 minutes, this was clearly not the case.

No bailiffs were present at the initial assault, when they did arrive (around 9am) they made an attempt to get vehicles on site through the newly created hole in the fence. However this was thwarted by activists up trees and scaffolding making the job of widening the gap impossible.

It was not until the following afternoon (once the last of the lock-ons had been removed) that any machinery would have been able to get past the main gate – by which time those left on site had decided to walk off together. Despite being aware of this, the council decided to then send in a representative to serve eviction notices on all those present – cue farcical scene of a heavily guarded council lackey being followed around site by a baying mob.

This led to some having second thoughts about the walkout (no one wants to leave when they’re told to) though it went ahead as planned – albeit a couple of hours late.

Now that the flames have turned into smouldering ashes, the barricades have been bulldozed along with what was once a settled community, and the last residents of Dale Farm walk away from their home into a displaced existence, what else is their to say about an event that will almost certainly be remembered by history for what it was: an brutal attack on a persecuted minority at the hands of the state, after abject failure by the legal system to protect their human rights?

The amount of bullshit spouted by the authorities during the eviction, and happily relayed without scrutiny by mainstream media dimshits, deserves a special round-up all of its own.

Step up, Councillor Tony Ball: “Sadly, this [travellers leaving] could have been achieved many years ago and without the scenes of violence which we have witnessed over the last 48 hours and the accompanying expense to the taxpayer.”

Basildon Council has led a concerted campaign to oust the Dale Farm community from the land it owns, knowing that it would cost at least £18 million before it even kicked off. Though the right-wing press are attempting to blame the travellers and supporters for the bill, it was the council who ultimately decided it was worth devoting a vast amount of resources to knock down a small number of structures built on an old scrapyard (many of the buildings on the ‘illegal’ half of Dale Farm are actually completely legal).

The fight is not over yet, with travellers and supporters deciding what to do next. For more info see dalefarm.wordpress.com



 
THE POSTING OF COMMENTS ON THIS STORY HAS BEEN PROHIBITED BY A MODERATOR

Subscribe to SchNEWS: Send 1st Class stamps (e.g. 10 for next 9 issues) or donations (payable to Justice?). Or £15 for a year's subscription, or the SchNEWS supporter's rate, £1 a week. Ask for "originals" if you plan to copy and distribute. SchNEWS is post-free to prisoners.

A brief history of the Dragon Festival and Cigarrones travellers site, southern Spain.
The Cigarrones travellers’ site is one of several communities which have sprung up near Orgiva in Andalucía, Spain, in recent decades. Coming to the southern tip of Europe to escape the repression against travellers in Britain and elsewhere, they have carved out a life of avin’ it autonomous anarchy – despite increasing attention from tinpot local authorities who act like Franco is still in. Since 1997 the site has held the annual Dragon Festival - now arguably one of the most significant free festivals in Europe – but this is also under attack. Here is a brief history written by a resident of Cigarrones:
SchNEWS interviews Canadian journalist and military historian Gwynne Dyer about the dire warnings for a post-climate change world in his book 'The Climate Wars'
Report from US-Mexico border about the narco wars whose connections go right up to the president
One year after the military coup in Honduras which ousted the leader and installed a neo-liberal cabal, grassroots groups across the country are aligning to create a popular movement.
SchNEWS interviews Richard Stallman – hacker, founder of the Free Software movement and activist for digital-software-information freedom...
From Kemp Town to Kabul, as SchNEWS interviews Al Jazeera journalist Medyan Dairieh about his take on the war...
An eyewitness account from Phnom Penh, as Cambodia faces its largest forced displacements since the time of the Khmer Rouge.
The future of Titnore Woods is threatened as Tesco and Worthing Council gang up to build upon the ancient woodland...
Who are the far-right English Defence League, and what are their strategies?
With the murder of Russian human rights activist Natalia Estemirova in Chechnya, we look at the Russian-backed despotic regime in Chechnya.
At the last minute the Big Green Gathering festival in Somerset was pulled due to legal pressure - SchNEWS looks at the events and factors that led to this.
The president of Honduras, Manuel Zelaya, is removed and sent into exile after a military coup d'etat.
This year marks the 24th anniversary of the infamous police attack on travellers on their way to Stonehenge in an incident now known as the Battle Of The Beanfield.
SchNEWS looks how deep the financial problems are for the banks and the British Govt, and how they won't learn from their errors.
Given a more optimistic environment after Obama's announcement that he's going to close the Guantanamo prison camp, SchNEWS interviews ex-detainee, Omar Deghayes, to gauge his reaction.
Eyewitness accounts from British activists on the ground during the wanton attack on Gaza by Israel in January 2009.
Somali pirates roaming the Gulf Of Aden, hijacking - amongst other ships - a Saudi oil supertanker. How is it possible? What geo-political context is giving rise to these latter-day pirates?