Saturday, July 16, 2011

Dale Farm Eviction

"I don't have a place, I don't have a hope
no homeland will ever lose me
and with my hands and with my hearts
...I build tents in my dreams"
is said in the song.. it's an anonymous song of gypsies..

By Grattan Puxon

MEP Richard Howitt added his voice last night to mounting opposition now being expressed against the government-backed £18 million eviction which could see Britain's biggest Gypsy village raised to the ground.
Howitt told protesters outside Basildon town hall: "I have stood up against the forced evictions of Roma in France and Italy and I don't want to see this happening in my own constituency."

With residents at the rally were members of UK Uncut and representatives of Jewish and Catholic communities. Migrant Roma from Bulgaria had also come to Dale Farm during the day to stand with the 90 families facing eviction.

"We are losing our homes too," said Hristo Slavov, "All of us, Roma and Travellers, must unite against this racism."

Joseph Jones, chair of the 45-year-old Gypsy Council, said a big step towards unity and greater frontline activism had been taken only last week at the founding congress of the new European Romani Union in Slovenia.

"Together we intend to draw a line at Dale Farm and stop this destruction of homes and our way of life," Jones commented. "It's ethnic-cleansing and we will not tolerate it."

But despite the voices outside, Tory councillors in the town hall voted to add an additional £1.2m towards an estimated policing bill for the massive eviction operation which alone could amount to £10m due to the anticipated strong resistance.

With much to lose, including her chalet home, Mary Ann McCarthy, put into words the feelings of Dale Farm residents when she said after the meeting: "They tell us to leave - but where are we to go? I have 22 children and grandchildren and we shall fight to stay."

Tomorrow [2 July] further preparations, with supporters of Dale Farm Solidarity, will be made at the estate for the long-term establishment of Camp Constant. This support-base is to provide accommodation for an international legal observer team and media personnel.

"The final 28-day notice could be served on us next week," said Gypsy Council president Richard Sheridan. "Although we have not given up hope of further legal challenges and delays."

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