In a video early this morning, authorities in charge of the Dale Farm eviction asked for no violence and highlighted the importance of following through with the eviction, as a nationwide principle of law enforcement that needed to be upheld. The video was ignored as bricks and debris were hurled at police when they began to move into the site this morning.
Riot police broke down a fence at the rear of the site, just after 07:00 BST, which led to angry protesters attacking as bailiffs awaited the preparations for the clearing of the illegal portion of the largest travellers’ site in the country.
Monday saw the travellers losing their appeal in a final attempt to avoid eviction, and the riots interrupted the discussion at the main gate. According to Essex Police, two people were Tasered and one was arrested. A caravan had been set on fire and electricity was cut. Masked protesters claimed this had cut off important medical supply for elderly people living on the illegal site.
There were at least 50 officers, with a resident claiming she had been hit with a baton and another setting fire to her own home. Protesters were outnumbered by the massive amounts of police, who had obviously been gathered in preparation for the property eviction. Once they were in, the police moved to the main gates to try and help bailiffs enter, but people were chained to the gate and 25 activists were on the overhead gantry. The council had attempted to negotiate peacefully.
Generations of Memories
A resident of the site, Kathleen McCarthy had this to say, “The memory of Dale Farm will weigh heavily on Britain for generations—we are being dragged out of the only homes we have in this world. Our entire community is being ripped apart by Basildon Council and the politicians in government.”
Police had been involved after a tip-off that violence would occur to anyone who entered the site. The police force said, “Intelligence received indicated protesters had stockpiled various items with the intent of using these against bailiffs and police. The first officers on the site were attacked with missiles being thrown including rocks and liquids. These officers were fully equipped to deal with this situation.”
The organized violence has been condemned by council leaders. The eviction comes at the end of a 10-year negotiation between the council and the travellers, who had bought a former scrap yard on green belt land in 2001. More travellers joined since then and built dwellings on land that was not owned by the travellers.