Early this morning riot police and bailiffs stormed the Dale Farm community in a dawn raid. Police violated the court order and used sledgehammers to smash through the walls of a fully legal plot on the site in order to force entry. Human rights observers reported several injuries of residents and supporters from police action as they forced their way onto site.
Police are using tasers on those protesting the eviction.
Residents and supporters remain inside the site, many locked on to blockades and caravans together in order to resist the eviction. Police breached the perimeter to initiate the eviction.
"The memory of Dale Farm will weigh heavily on Britain for generations- we are being dragged out of the only homes we have in this world. Our entire community is being ripped apart by Basildon Council and the politicians in government"
Natalie Fox, a supporter said:
"The Traveller community is being criminalised- it has been made illegal for them to travel, but they are not being allowed to settle. If Traveller families are not allowed to make their home on a former scrapyard, then where will they be allowed to live?"
Lily Hayes, a human rights observer, said:
"Basildon Council are violating the court order by smashing in the walls of a fully legal plot on the Dale Farm site. They are also acting unnecessarily brutally, using tasers on people protesting the eviction"
Despite Basildon Council's claims, human rights observers have reported that the police are conducting a brutal, dangerous and unlawful eviction.
Mary Sheridan, a Dale Farm resident who has taken her children off site and is staying in a relative's lawful plot, said:
"The only premeditated violence has come from the police- they knew exactly what they were doing when they started beating and tazering people. This is not how a community should be treated by its own Council. It's illegal for us to travel, but illegal for us to settle down here. We're getting hit by the police but we've got nowhere else to go."
Instances of police violence reported by trained human rights observers and witnesses include:
-Witnesses report the use of tasers by police from the beginning of the eviction
-Police forced entry onto the site by using sledgehammers to break down a wall of a fully legal plot on the edge of the site. This is not only in violation of court order and constitutes criminal damage, but it is also highly dangerous. Vulnerable and elderly residents had stayed on that plot expecting to be safe as it is protected through court decisions, and were highly traumatised as police sledgehammered through the wall. At least two women residents sustained head injuries.
-Batons have been used on supporters and residents from the beginning of the eviction
-Severe injuries of residents and protesters have been witnessed by human rights observers and the press. One woman sustained such serious injuries from police that she had to be admitted to hospital.
- The plot of a resident who needs a breathing machine to survive has had it's electricity cut.
Natalie Fox, a spokesperson for Dale Farm Solidarity supporter group, said,
"Far from being the dignified eviction that Basildon Council is claiming, this is set to be one of the most brutal evictions on record. 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. "
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