Sunday, September 18, 2011

Dale Farm: Bailiffs prepare to clear travellers' site

Demonstrators mix cement to construct a brick wall to block bailiffs Barricades and walls are being built to block out bailiffs

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Bailiffs are making final preparations before they begin clearing the Dale Farm travellers' site in Essex.
As many as 400 people have been living on the 51 unauthorised caravan plots - but officials said 12 families had already left the site at Crays Hill.
Those remaining have said they will resist eviction and have been building reinforcements.
Police have been drafted in from all over the country but say they will only act if there is a threat to safety.
Council officials are now plotting their final moves in the saga which has spanned 10 years.
They are taking action to remove the caravans which do not have planning permission.
Throughout Sunday, supporters and travellers made last-minute preparations, strengthening barricades and building a wall to block the bailiffs' entry.
A last-minute meeting between residents and the council was cancelled after representatives were apparently told by protesters they were no longer welcome.
Resident Kathleen McCarthy: "We're standing firm... we will resist"
Tony Ball, Basildon Council leader, said he was "very concerned" by reports that "so-called supporters appear to be calling the shots".
He said: "We wanted to do everything possible to keep residents updated about the operation and to listen to any concerns and address any final requirements.
"It would appear that we now have no line of communication to the Dale Farm residents.
"We are very concerned that tension has increased and it may now make our job of clearing the site in a safe and orderly manner even more difficult."
Resident Kathleen McCarthy, a spokesman for the community who has lived on the site for 10 years, said: "We are living on a hope that they will realise we are not animals - we are humans."
It was no longer about greenbelt land but hatred and prejudice, she said.
Dale Farm aerial photo Illegal pitches, to the left of the red line, are at the centre of the dispute over Dale Farm
Residents said among them were the very young, the vulnerable and the elderly.
Ms McCarthy insisted though, the remaining adults would lock themselves to their properties for "as long as it takes".
She appealed to Prime Minister David Cameron to stop bailiffs from making them homeless.
"I don't want my children to be in danger, so we're moving them.
"But we've got nowhere to go after Monday. We don't know what's going to happen to us," she said.
Essex Police warned residents to expect a "significant increase" in police vehicles during the eviction, which is expected to last up to six weeks.
The police have set up a temporary base at Barleylands in Billericay.
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