London Indymedia

Stop Ethnic Cleansing

imc-uk features | 19.08.2004 11:03 | Anti-racism | Culture | Repression | Cambridge | London

Travellers or Roma have faced oppression, murder, sterilisation and genocide from successive European governments, including the Nazis and the current regimes. In Essex, the situation is currently worsening for Travellers. The British Nationalist Party have won 3 seats on Epping Forest District Council with their neo-Nazi pledge to drive out the local Gypsy people.

A young mother with triplets and an elderly couple, who had lived on their own land at Paynes Lane, Lower Nazeing, Essex, for l4 years, along with other families were evicted in June. Another man was sent to prison for 28 days for living on his own land, and a judge is threatening to imprison his wife and children if they don't move from land they bought at Colney Hatch. The council now hope to evict the last remaining couple from Paynes Lane on 22nd August, despite the fact that they have been paying council tax for over 10 years.

Anti-racist and Gypsy Council campaigners are planning a rally to counter the eviction at Paynes Lane on the 22nd August. The rally will include the unveiling of a Memorial Field for Roma victims of the Holocaust, and will celebrate the survival of Romani culture with music and food.

Anti-racist campaigners also demonstrated last Saturday near Cambridge. Local residents protested against neo-fascists outside the Oakington Immigration Detention Centre.

Previous coverage: [1][2][3][4][Photos]
Links: [Traveller Support][East Anglia Social Forum]
Calls for rally at Paynes Lane, 22nd August: [1][2]

imc-uk features


Hide the following 13 comments


20.08.2004 03:39

Blessed be.

King Amdo

a question

20.08.2004 20:05

I hope you get a big response for the rally and build a campaign that can stop the evictions.
But if it's their land, how come they're being evicted/ What law is being used?

Andy N

Not sure but..

20.08.2004 23:00

It's possible it might classify as agricultural land, or something. I think the law is fairly flexible about weather people are allowed to stay in temporary accomodation on the site, and for how long. It probably depends on someone making a complaint.

Again, I have no idea for sure.


Politically correct?

21.08.2004 10:02

Wonder if anyone who has a little more first hand knowledge of how these people behave, would be quite so keen to have them camped next door?



Ignorant comments

21.08.2004 13:08

The ignorant comments on this page show why it is so vital to support these communities that are under attack

The Travellers own their land and are being evicted because of lack of Planning Permission. This is really rascist policy and is typical as we have witnessed persecution of travellers and traveller lifestyle for many many years, including the loss of public land, various laws on public order etc.

Please contact the Gypsy Council, check the links, do some research and rally to support in whatever way u can. Being on the internet means we can access alot of information. Stop this ignorant rubbish now!



21.08.2004 16:09

Alright, I was unsure about the exact law in use, but I SAID that.

And in reference to the whole "rascist" thing, most of the atrocities mentioned were against the eastern european Roma, a sorely persecuted group, but to my understanding, ethnically separate to their British counterparts. As far as I can tell, British Travellers don't use, and aren't particularly fond of either "Roma" or "Gypsy" when referring to themselves.

That doesn't make this action by the council any more fair and right, but it's a good idea to get all one's ducks in a row.

So, basically take a chill pill evol :)


Heer is some background reading

23.08.2004 16:02

Cut and paste from The Guardian.,9061,1270771,00.html

Bitter disputes between Travellers, councils and local residents are becoming increasingly common as 'illegal ' Gypsy-owned sites continue to grow. But isn't there a better way? Jake Bowers and Alison Benjamin report

Jake Bowers and Alison Benjamin
Wednesday July 28, 2004

The Guardian

Nazing, Essex, is a suburban sprawl where east Londoners who have made a bit of money move to see green fields from the windows of their big modern houses. Past these homes, with their St George's flags flying, and behind the row upon row of industrial greenhouses, is a narrow road that leads to Harry and Linda Smith's land - half an acre of gravel on which stand two caravans, a neat wooden cabin, some well-cared-for potted plants and a portable toilet.
This pitch off Paynes Lane has been the Smith's home for 14 years but the couple bought it without planning permission and subsequent planning applications have been rejected. As a result, Epping Forest district council has ordered them to leave. Unless Harry, 63, and Linda, 57, go by August 23, the bailiffs will remove them by force.

Only a few weeks ago, at the same five-acre site, 26 Gypsies and Travellers were evicted who had repeatedly flouted planning regulations since their arrival two years ago. The Smiths' eviction could be the latest in a line of ugly confrontations between Gypsies and Travellers and local councils trying to remove them from "illegal" sites.

Earlier this year police in riot gear paid an early morning visit to Meadowlands, also in Essex, to help clear out 15 families. At Bulkington Fields, Warwickshire, police and bailiffs were met by an angry crowd behind a huge banner that read Stop Ethnic Cleansing.

Harry Smith says he will not leave Paynes Lane. "We've got nowhere to go," he argues. "If the council finds me a place by all means we'll go, but how can I take my misses on the road? She's had a triple bypass and she's got to go back to the doctor for tests. They think her arteries are blocked again. She also has to take insulin twice a day for her diabetes."

Epping Forest district council has no sites for Gypsies and Travellers. And, claims Linda Smith, the nearest is full. It is a similar story across England. The 324 sites provided by local authorities, where just under 6,000 caravans are pitched, have long waiting lists. Since the 1994 Criminal Justice Act removed the statutory duty on local councils to provide caravan sites few new ones have been created. Resistance from local residents and lack of funding are the two most frequent reasons cited by councils.

Gypsies claim that their nomadic way of life has in effect been outlawed. Current government policy recommends that the 300,000-strong Gypsy and Traveller communities should house themselves on their own land. Many of the plots they have bought, however, are on greenbelt land on the outskirts of towns, so they are often denied planning permission. The government's own studies state that more than 90% of applications from Gypsies are refused, compared to applications from settled people, of which more than 80% are granted consent.

Last year there were almost 2,000 illegal encampments on land privately owned by Gypsies - up 40% on the previous year. Nearly half were in the east of Britain. What results are bitter legal wrangles that can drag on for years. The Birmingham-based Community Law Practice, which specialises in representing Travellers, is dealing with up to 100 planning appeals, about a third of all cases.

The most high profile appeal is ongoing in Cambridgeshire, where Cottenham residents and Travellers are locked in battle over the addition of 17 new mobile homes on Smithy Fen, Cottenham's long-established Travellers' site. Outraged local residents threatened to withhold council tax in protest at the antisocial behaviour they say they have endured since the Irish Travellers moved in.

Common complaints against Gypsies and Travellers include lorries rumbling along country lanes delivering gravel, burning rubbish with smoke billowing across nearby gardens and residents claiming that burglaries have increased, despite little evidence to support this, according to the police.

In Epping Forest, growing tensions may have contributed to the election of three British National party councillors on the back of a manifesto pledge to "immediately evict Travellers/Gypsies from private or council lands". In Firle, east Sussex, a mock Gypsy caravan with the number plate P1KIE, was torched last year on November 5. The Crown Prosecution Service has dropped charges against the 12 people arrested because of lack of evidence.

The negative impact that the shortage of traveller sites has had on race relations is recognised by the Commission for Racial Equality (CRE), which this week appointed a Gypsy commissioner, Charles Smith, chair of the Gypsy Council. Launching the commission's first strategy on Gypsies and Travellers earlier this year, chairman Trevor Phillips said: "There is no question that Gypsies and Travellers are probably the single most intensely discriminated against group in the country. I've described it as a case of Gypsies and Travellers in the UK being akin to [what ] black folk were in the deep south of the US 40 years ago."

With the government estimating that more than 4,000 additional pitches will be required on long and short-stay council sites, by 2007, a wide range of organisations as diverse as the Gypsy and Traveller Law Reform Coalition (GTLRC), the Association of Chief Police Officers and Cottenham residents' association have reached the same conclusion; more sites must be provided.

The residents have even joined with GTLRC to put pressure on government to amend the housing bill and reintroduce a statutory duty on councils to meet Gypsy and Traveller accommodation needs. The action has not sprung from a change of heart, but is an example of pure self-interest, says GTLRC's policy development worker Andrew Ryder. "I can 't think of a better recipe for discord and strife [than the Criminal Justice Act ],"says Ryder.

Epping Forest says the impact of fighting Travellers through the courts can be huge for a small council. "The amount of work involved seriously affects the capacity of legal, planning and environmental health departments to continue with the normal day-to-day activities," says Independent leader of the council John Knapman.

Then there's the cost. Mid-Befordshire district council estimates that it has spent close to £500,000, excluding officer time, in court proceedings. The Local Government Association is in no doubt that forcing councils to provide sites is the only solution.

"Unless there is a statutory duty supported by adequate funding it is unlikely that site provision and wider service provision for Travelling communities will be developed as a priority for both financial and political reasons," it told an Office of the Deputy of the Prime Minister select committee reviewing government's Gypsy and Traveller policy. The review will report in the autumn, but going on evidence given by housing and planning minister Keith Hill the reinstatement of the statutory obligation is not a done deal.

"The government is, of course, considering all options," said Hill. "However, I am very clear that a duty would have significant spending implications. I am also conscious that a duty would put Gypsies and Travellers arguably in an advantageous position by comparison with other local residents without housing needs."

In Epping Forest, Knapman favours a Traveller-focused housing association scheme to bring forward appropriate sites funded by private and public money. For Harry and Linda Smith it could come to late. When the bailiffs arrive at Paynes Lane, Harry says: "They'll have to put me in prison."

Barry Kade
- Homepage:


24.08.2004 11:44

I stand corrected :)


after all this time

24.08.2004 22:15

to actually see a mention of the white brit workingclass - unsurprisingly in the 'Alf Garnett' mode - that's wot is so cool about the 'politics' of this culture - it allows folk to diss the proles in the way that their middle-class parents did, but now with the patina of antiracism, antisexism, greenery.

And you'd all piss your pants if the workingclass took arms to defend itself, as a community, against muggers and twockers or, as a class, to defend the transition to a social order beyond captial.

david murray


25.08.2004 23:05

it's the
'British National Party'

If u want to embarrass their councillors u might find it useful to scope their website - c june '03 they had a story on the 20th anniversary of the 'battle of the beanfield' when cops trashed a 'New Age Travellers' convoy. What was astonishing was that the BNP *supported* the travellers and dissed the cops as 'Thatcher' s Thugs' who were enforcing a despotic state against (I quote from memory) 'middle class couples who did not want their children to be subject to the media and brainwashing educational system'.

This was a really amazing eg of the BNP attempting to take on multicultualism, in the sense of embracing it. The next few weeks they were bombarded with the 'old guard' slagging them on the grounds that actually a fair proportion of the travellers were not cool middies who wanted to read their kids Dickens but were dopers.

Anyway - u just might find it useful to find that and use it.

Of course, the BNP are nazis. But just saying that is not that pointful - in that it's not enough. What is interesting is their usage of the rhetoric of identity and multi-culturalism.

david murray

Travelling Life

15.09.2004 01:54 something else...the sense perception of freedom and here and nowness and aliveness and of course magic is unbeatable. And this is the sad thing, I don't want to see travellers cease to exist. Be they Roma or Irish or the new age type. The fact is that people should be allowed to travel and park's just ridiculas to say that there's no realty there's plenty. The new age travellers may take some blame for being (en-mass) notarious drug dealers but nevertheless, there's no excuse for driving people off the road with persecution. If you've a problem with the drug dealing new agers, there are laws to deal with that specific problem...the state has no right to try and ban a lifestyle. (post criminal justice act etc). People should be free and feel safe to park up in the tradition park ups and other places where travellers can safely do so. I.e they should not have to buy sites!!! ... either by 'fair means' (human rights/anti racism legal protection etc) or by 'foul' (magic change of reality) that the travelling life will be protected and become good and easy and safe again...and the forces of fear separation and racism and negativity will be broken and smashed for ever throughout time! revealing a new age...of sharing and love and so on. That's the theory anyway.


Blessed be,

King Amdo

King Amdo

I have this to say also...

19.09.2004 15:12

Hi again everyone.

In Wales there is this thing called this. I believe it to be racist and illegal in European, International and probably domestic Law. As well as (obviously) unethical and well just plane scary! (A great incitment for vigilatism and race hate/separation/scism.)

Roma have a long history in wales and this traveller watch schme includes all travellers not just the professed target...'convoy' style free rave foculisers and drug dealers.

I spoke to a campaign type travellers law centre in Cardiff a few years ago, about this, and the woman on the end of the phone said that action under the (domestic) racism legislation can only be taken if the racism is overt and obvious.

However I think thet you (we) have a case here, and certainly if the funds, energy and personel can be found, it would be great to take this matter further.

By the way, you'll need to be careful getting the evidence that this scheme exists on paper, and who is involved (the police/CLA)...if they realise that you're on their case they'll clam up. The woman from the CLA only sent me the info about the scheme because she thought that I was a landowner interested in joining thier network.

Come on assholes! This is a fascist would be great to see North Wales Police (registered pedophiles) and the CLA looking very very stupid indeed in the European and International courts and media. We shouldn't let the bunch of British perverts get away with this.


King Amdo.


King Amdo

reply to David

30.09.2005 09:55

Hey David,
What's a twocker?

"you'd all piss your pants if the workingclass took arms to defend itself, as a community" ... You might be right there... But it's never going to happen because the community you're talking about has been disolved and eroded through TV, town planners, and greed (from within and without). Maybe there is a vibrant working class commmunity somewhere in Britain, but I've never seen evidence of it in the culture of the Southeast.

So I think our pants are quite safe for the time being.



South Coast

Other UK IMCs
Bristol/South West
Northern Indymedia

London Topics

Animal Liberation
Climate Chaos
Energy Crisis
Free Spaces
Ocean Defence
Other Press
Public sector cuts
Social Struggles
Terror War
Workers' Movements

London IMC


About | Contact
Mission Statement
Editorial Guidelines
Publish | Help

Search :