Mass Dale Farm walkout: “you can’t take away our dignity”

At 4.45 pm today, Dale Farm residents and supporters jointly walked off the site to begin the next stage of the battle against eviction which has been waged across courts, barricades and protests. The decision to leave together was made in order to show the unity of the residents and supporters after two months of supporter presence at Dale Farm through Camp Constant.

Resident Mary Sheridan said, “Leaving with supporters today is about our own dignity and our appreciation of the support we’ve received. We’re leaving together as one family, and we are proud of that- you can’t take away our dignity”.

The mass walk-out leaves the site free of people except legal observers, who are required to make sure that the bailiffs stick to the letter of the law in leaving the walls, fences and most of the hardstanding in place.

Now the Travellers are outside the Dale Farm site, the legacy of Tory Councillor Tony Ball and local MP John Baron who drove the forced eviction to conclusion is laid bare. Where will these families go? How will their needs be met? The Travellers’ and supporters’ next move remains to be decided. Mr Ball and Mr Baron have declined to respond when asked for advice on what the Dale Farm community should do now.

Ali Saunders, a Dale Farm supporter added, “We have held off eviction for over a month, and our sense of togetherness has been amazing. Anyone who has visited the community cannot fail to see the importance of a movement to promote the rights of Travellers. Dale Farm will have a legacy for years to come.”

A new group, the Traveller Solidarity Network [1], has emerged in recent weeks, in response to the Dale Farm crisis.
Ali Saunders continued, “The Dale Farm forced eviction showed that the UK’s reputation for tolerance is a smokescreen for systematic discrimination against a Travellers because of their ethnicity and culture. That’s why groups from Amnesty International to the United Nations opposed the forced eviction.

Dale Farm has brought the ingrained prejudice against Travellers into public view, from constant rejections of planning permission, to hostile local authorities, to violent evictions. The true long-term impact of Dale Farm will be a movement of travellers and supporters to change attitudes so travelling people can live in peace and not be criminalised.”

[1] http://travellersolidarity.org/


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One Response to Mass Dale Farm walkout: “you can’t take away our dignity”

  1. mjp6034 says:

    You did leave with dignity indeed, and plenty of us in the settled community applaud that and support you.
    http://mattpearson.org/2011/10/20/dale-farm-racists-and-the-law-must-be-upheld-brigade/

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