Dale Farm Eviction Day Live Blog: Illegal Tasers, Burning Caravans And The Neighbours Rejoice
Two protestors ahve been tasered by police.
A caravan has been set on fire.
Electricity has been cut off.
Rocks and liquids are tossed at police. The Basildon Echo says protestors are urinating on police.
“F*** the police, no justice, no peace.”
A woman tells Sky News:
All I’ve been prepared to do is put my body in the way of harm. The fact that these baliffs have been paid so much to rip apart families and take them from their home here is disgusting. The justice system has massively failed these people.”
Tony Ball, the leader of Basildon council says:
The time for talking is over. We have given the travellers’ every chance to leave peacefully and they have not taken it. Now our job is to clear the site in a safe and humane manner. It is quite clear to me that the majority of the public want us to do that. My biggest fear is that somebody – be it a bailiff, a police officer, a traveller or a supporter – gets hurt. I would call on those inside Dale Farm to behave sensibly and responsibly.
Is her for real? He adds not long after:
The pre-meditated and organised scenes of violence that we have already seen with protesters throwing rocks and bricks, threatening police with iron bars and setting fire to a caravan are shocking. These are utterly disgraceful scenes and demonstrate the fact some so-called supporters were always intent on violence. Nonetheless we are going to press on with this operation with our partners in a safe, dignified and humane way and will uphold the law.
Mary Sheridan (traveller):
“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.”
The Rosy-Fingered Dawn
As daylight was just beginning to break over Dale Farm a line riot police appeared on the road leading to the front gate their shields illumunated by headlights from a row of vans behind.A siren from behind the barricades was sounded as a polce tactical adviser came to talk to the activist telling them they were there to protect them. A shout of fascist came from behind the gate. – Richard Alleyne, Daily Telegraph
A spokesman says:
“Officers have this morning entered the Dale Farm site following intelligence which informed the commanders that anyone entering the site was likely to come up against violence and a serious breach of the peace would occur. Intelligence received indicated protesters had stockpiled various items with the intent of using these against bailiffs and police. The first officers on the site were attacked with missiles being thrown, including rocks and liquids. These officers were fully equipped to deal with this situation.”
Christian Papaleontiou of the Home Office’s policing directorate told the Commons home affairs select committee that Tasers should not be used “as a crowd control measure”.
He told the committee:
“We again support the ACPO guidance, which is very clear that Tasers should not be used in terms of a crowd control measure in public order scenarios.”
Nora Egan, who claims she suffered back injuries in a confrontation with police. She said: “This is being led by the police, there is no sign of bailiffs.”
“They started as seven families and now it has grown, illegally ever since. If we didn’t make a stand here we’d have no more green belt land left. They’d be setting up all over the Lake District. Our local authority has had to make a stand to show the rest of the country. If we had allowed this site to grow it would have got bigger and bigger until the travellers outnumbered the villagers.”
The Activist Jake Fulton
“They’re torturing people up there. We are trying to resist peacefully”
John Baron MP for Basildon and Billericay:
“We’ve been on the right side of this issue for the last eight years. Now we’re here we’re not going to rush our fences, we are going to do this safely. Police are using minimum force required, but when you have protesters throwing rocks and holding iron bars they have to protect themselves. We still hope this will be a peaceful site clearance. There cannot be one law for travellers and another for residents.”
The Bishop of Chelmsford, Stephen Cottrell:
“As we witness the sad and difficult eviction of the travelling community from Dale Farm, let us pray that it happens peacefully and that no one is hurt or injured. But let us also remember that this eviction does not solve the problem but moves it somewhere else. These families are going to have to sleep somewhere tonight. What is needed is a national solution to provide travelling communities with stable, permanent and, if they wish, settled sites so that their culture and community can be maintained and flourish within the law.”
Basildon Council say:
Although the cost itemised above includes an operational contingency there is a possibility that operational expenditure may exceed the £5m indicated. In this instance it will be necessary for an additional budget to be agreed to ensure the safe and successful completion of the site clearance. It is therefore proposed that the Chief Executive and Leader of the Council be delegated authority to approve additional expenditure up to a maximum of £1.5m bringing estimated costs of site clearance to £6.5m. Added to the £1.5m post operation costs, that equals £8m.
Polly Curtis says:
The council has a budget of £8m for the evictions, the police operation is thought to be around £10m with some suggestions that it could stretch to over £12.5m. The total bill is put at £18m by the council and £20.13m by the Dale Farm Solidarity campaign group.
But these figures are extremely provisional and don’t include the costs of the delays to the evictions after the court action last month.
Dale Farm Solidarity:
Dale Farm is the largest community of its kind, and its eviction is among the biggest in recorded history. Eighty two families are facing the fact that they have nowhere to sleep tonight. The operation to do this has cost the taxpayer at least £18m.
Dale Farm’s size has also awakened many in Britain to the criminalisation of Travellers. Today’s operation has been harrowing for all the families and supporters involved. We have seen the police enter the site by smashing through a legal plot that was assumed to be safe by elderly residents seeking refuge. As police sledgehammered a wall on this plot, these elderly residents were seriously injured.
A Dale Farm mother is in hospital and can’t move her legs after being beaten by police; tasers have been used, despite being declared inappropriate for public order situations; and seven people have been taken away in ambulances. But how did it get to this?