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Dale Farm: residents condemn police violence

Traveller solidarity campaigners call for support

October 20, 2011
3 min read

Parts of the media are already talking as if the evictions at the Dale Farm Traveller site are over – but residents and their supporters are continuing to resist this morning (20 October).

The police took much of the site yesterday, but bailiffs are only now starting to make their way in. The eviction could still take days longer to finish.

In a statement, the solidarity campaign on the Essex site urgently called for ‘help with legal observing, documenting the eviction, arrestee support or simply a supportive presence inside or outside the site’.

‘We are here a lot longer that was initially expected, and if you come down to resist and support we can do it even longer,’ they added.

The eviction has attracted global attention, with photos of the police storming into the Traveller site beamed around the world.

‘We may just be delaying the inevitable but if we don’t stand up to this, nobody will. I’m prepared to stay as long as I can,’ said activist Harry.

The Travellers have accused police of ‘brutality’ as they batoned and tasered people during the first stages of the eviction yesterday.

Resident Kathleen McCarthy said: ‘I’ve seen residents with blood dripping down their face, and another who has been put in hospital by police batoning. The way in which the police are acting has shocked and outraged everyone here.’

Many of the more than 80 families who live on Dale Farm were taking shelter in the legal part of the site, which they had thought would be safe from the eviction. The police and council accused them of ‘violence’, but they say they have only acted in self-defence.

Mary Sheridan, who is staying with a relative on the legal site, said: ‘The only premeditated violence has come from the police – they knew exactly what they were doing when they started beating and tasering people.

‘We’re getting hit by the police but we’ve got nowhere else to go.’

The Bishop of Chelmsford and local priest Father Dan Mason have released a statement condemning the ‘violent approach’. Police confirmed two people were tasered.

Natalie Fox, a spokesperson for the Dale Farm Solidarity group, said: ‘The council know that there are elderly and vulnerable people on site, as well as children, but they have gone in with a full frontal and brutal approach which is already resulting in injuries. The world is watching.’

Trains are running to Wickford and Basildon. Call the site phone on 07583 621312 to find out about how to help or to get on site. Bring bedding, warm clothes, high-energy food and torches, for yourself and to share. More at http://dalefarm.wordpress.com