UPDATE: Look around Dale Farm today you will find a community of increasingly stressed and sleepless but undefeated residents: grandparents, parents, children, and babies living close together, supporting each other, and welcoming into their midst supporters of all ages and backgrounds: altogether so many thoughtful, considerate, and inspiring people who are part of many different humanitarian, political, religious, and mutually supportive communities and groups who don’t want to stand by while hundreds of Travellers are brutally and senselessly evicted from their homes.
Government inspectors say that Basildon has a “dire shortage” of Gypsy and Traveller sites, and have placed pressure on the Council to provide 62 pitches. So when Basildon council repeats the statement that they are simply upholding the law, they are masking a huge injustice. The Travellers from Dale Farm have nowhere to go, but the council would rather throw them out on the roadside than find appropriate land for Travellers to live on. Planning Inspector Mark Dakeyne has stated that: “There is a clear and immediate need for more sites in the district.”
Bishops have offered their services to help mediate between the council and the Dale Farm community to avoid the costly forced eviction. The residents of Dale Farm gratefully accepted the offer – they have always made it clear that although they don’t want to be uprooted they are willing to move on from the site peacefully, if an alternative viable site is found. After visiting Dale Farm on Tuesday, Bishop Thomas McMahon and Bishop Stephen Cottrell of the Diocese of Chelmsford said in a statement, ‘if elderly and infirm people were shown on TV being forced out of their homes, we wouldn’t think we were watching something happening in England, but that is what will happen here.’ So far, Basildon Council has not responded to the Bishops offer of mediation. Dale Farm Solidarity calls on Tony Ball, the leader of Basildon Council, to accept this offer and avoid the spectre of forced eviction.
The UN have released a statement condemning the eviction of families from Dale Farm, when no alternative land has been found for the families to live on and so that the community will be made homeless. “We call on the Government to suspend the planned eviction, which would disproportionately affect the lives of the Gypsy and Traveller families, particularly women, children and older people,” the Committee members said. “We urge the authorities to find a peaceful and appropriate solution, including identifying culturally appropriate accommodation, with full respect for the rights of the families involved…Travellers and Gypsies already face considerable discrimination and hostility in wider society and the Committee is deeply concerned that this could be worsened by actions taken by authorities in the current situation and by some media reporting of the issues,” the Committee added.
Dale Farm Solidarity is standing with the Dale Farm community and calling out for support. Since the deadline has passed for the eviction notice period, families are increasingly stressed and in need of strong physical presence on site to feel some safety. A Dale Farm mother came to the gates early yesterday morning, in tears asking us to collect timber, to help strengthen barricades to keep out the bailiffs, and to keep her family safe, saying she couldn’t sleep for fear. She has nowhere to go and is living in fear of eviction and homelessness. The situation is desperate for the families and community at Dale Farm who have nowhere to go and families to look after, including many sick relatives and young children.
The council is imposing a blockade on the roads around Dale Farm, leaving the residents feeling trapped, penned in, scared, and persecuted. This is how rural England does ethnic cleansing and it has to be stopped. So, there’s loads to do…
- Come to Dale Farm – see here for a little clip of life on Dale Farm and at Camp Constant. Directions to the site are here.
- On Sunday, Sept 4th at 12 noon [note time change]: join the Jewish Solidarity visit to Dale Farm — it’s important that cultures with a shared history of oppression support each other when our fundamental human rights face being breached. That is why this Sunday, Jewish rabbis, citizens and activists will be on site for a special blockade in support of residents at Dale Farm.
- There is a workshop, on Sunday Sept. 4th, 2pm, at Dale Farm: Freedom of Movement and the Right to Stay! This is the rallying cry for Roma, Gypsies and Travellers and of migrants throughout the world. A common thread of persecution, of forbidden lands, eviction and deportation connect the struggles for migrant rights and the rights of Gypsies and Travellers. These realities have met dramatically in the crack-down and deportations of Roma people from France and Italy. Come to the Workshop organised by No One Is Illegal and London No Borders including a speaker who is an activist in Amnesty International’s campaign against the persecution of Roma in Europe.
- Check the webpage for stuff that’s needed on site that you could donate/bring along, see here.
- If you can’t get to us in person, and you are able, please donate – the residents want to be sure there is a strong and constant presence of supporters on site, and that means feeding and supporting people there.
- Demonstration Saturday 10th September, 1pm, Wickford Station – Stop Basildon Council Tories and the Home Office Wasting Millions Bulldozing Dale Farm. This is only a week away, and we need help spreading the word to make it as big as possible, on facebook (‘the dale farm demonstration’), twitter, email lists, in meetings. For more info see here. The demonstration will go from Wickford Station to Dale Farm, leaving Wickford at 1pm. If you can help with transport or need transport from your area, contact firstname.lastname@example.org