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Штурм им. KatriceWilli / Dale Farm travellers finally pack up their OWN caravans as bailiffs move in

They're on their way: Dale Farm travellers finally pack up their caravans as bailiffs move in

Last two protesters carried away kicking and shouting

'Crow's nest' scaffolding is torn down by cherry picker crane

Demonstrators hurl tiles at bailiffs in last-ditch attempt at resistance

Sporadic clashes with protesters during the night as police guard site

Victory at last for the council and taxpayers in legal battle that has cost £22m

Two demonstrators Tasered and 34 arrested after violent clashes with police over two days

By Daily Mail Reporter
Updated: 19:23 BST, 20 October 2011





Travellers admitted defeat today and began pushing away their own caravans from the Dale Farm site after bailiffs removed the last few protesters.

The groups of men, who until now had stayed behind the scenes, emerged shortly after midday and wheeled their vans onto the neighbouring legal site.

The move marks the first time in a ten-year legal battle that the travellers have accepted that it is time to move on. They are clearing their goods from the site before the end of the week, when bailiffs are expected to began demolition.

This morning, a cherry picker crane nicknamed 'the eater' crushed the metal scaffolding at the front of the site that was preventing officials from getting inside.

Forty-six caravans and chalets on illegal pitches at the site are expected to be cleared by the end of the week as the council offers alternative homes to travellers.

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Defeat: Residents from Dale Farm push away one of their own caravans before bailiffs begin towing away the homes later this week

Push off: Travellers guide the caravan through a narrow gap in the wall surrounding the neighbouring legal site

Leaving: An Irish traveller walks past the remains of a burnt out barricade in front of riot police. Roght, one of the teenage traveller girls holds a young relative as she walks through the site today

The final scenes in the decade-long saga marked a victory for the council after it has spent £22m of taxpayers' cash clearing the former scrapyard in Basildon, Essex.

The officials made the final push this morning as they smashed through a barricade to enter the site just before 10am. They used angle-grinders to hack away the chains that the last six anarchists had used to lock themselves to vehicles.

Protesters retaliated with a last-ditch attempt to defend the site and hurled debris at the officials. But with nobody left on the illegal pitch, a cherry picker crane nicknamed 'the eater' began tearing down the 'crow's nest' scaffolding at the entrance to Dale Farm.



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Share Around 50 travellers watched proceedings from the adjoining legal site. More than 200 had been living on the site until court proceedings reached a climax last month. The other 150 are believed to have moved to other pitches around the UK.

Council leader Tony Ball said: 'Where we are now is where we would like to have been yesterday. We have residents leaving the site. The delay was caused by violent resistance in the morning and peaceful resistance in the afternoon.

'I am comfortable with the fact those carrying out the clearance are trained professionals and will behave accordingly.'

Mr Ball said the council has made travellers aware of alternative sites and made offers, which have not been accepted, to provide for the elderly, vulnerable and young.

An Essex Police spokesman said officers would increasingly hand over to bailiffs now the site is secured.

Victory at last: A cherry picker crane pulls down scaffolding at the main entrance to the Dale Farm site. The metal tower had been the last barricade between the authorities and the illegal homes

Clearing the road: The cherry picker crane, nicknamed 'the eater', crushes the scaffolding. Right, almost all of the tower is removed

Fergus Shepherd from Basildon Council said that at 8.38am today all lock-ons were removed from the gantry. He said that residents had told community police officers they would like to leave the site.

He added: 'There have been a small number of missiles thrown.'

Superintendent Trevor Roe said nine forces had supported Essex Police under mutual aid. Officers have suffered only minor injuries 'like bruises and scratches'.

He added: 'Our clear intention is we want to revert to normal community policing as soon as we can. The residents have made it clear that once the obstructions have been cleared, they would like to leave peacefully.'

He stressed that no travellers have been arrested. Asked about injuries to travellers, he said six people had been hurt. 'All injuries have been minor,' he added

He said that the person hit with the Taser 'fell back into the crowd' and disappeared. He added: 'If that person wants to make themself known, we are happy to hear from them.'

Yesterday, riot-trained officers entered Dale Farm at first light and quickly advanced, establishing a position which allowed them to begin removing the main scaffold gate. Essex Police made 34 arrests.

Officers and Basildon Council-employed bailiffs remained on site as they prepared to remove the gate. There were sporadic, small-scale clashes between supporters and police during the evening.

Black boots in the air: A dozen bailiffs in blue vests carry away two travellers who kicked and shouted to avoid being removed from the site

Protesters are led away by police, with one stopping for a kiss on his way out of Dale Farm

A demonstrator in a cardigan and woolly hat, who had bedded down on the illegal site, is walked away by officers yesterday

Secure: Police officers stand at the main entrance to Dale farm on the second day of the planned eviction of the traveller site

Lock down: As dawn broke the scaffolding was still standing, but not for much longer. Right, a female officer prepares herself for another day of clashes

Shivering: The remaining six activists lie chained to a barrier at the site today having survived the night's plunging temperatures

No direction home: An unused cabin is daubed with the words 'Where will we go?' while anarchists have painted 'resist' on a fence

Questions: Painting on a fence asks the question 'If not a scrapyard then where?' The illegal site was built on a former scrap yard

About 50 travellers remained but many spent the night on the legal side of Dale Farm and others said they now wanted to leave as soon as the gate was opened. 

The main gate scaffold has now been pulled down and work is under to begin removing homes from 48 unauthorised plots.

Resistance remained throughout the night and some residents said they were determined to obstruct the eviction.

Kathleen McCarthy vowed to be there until the end. She 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. We hope the world is watching.

'We don't want to give up and I plan to lock my daughter in our caravan to resist the bailiffs.'

But the glum-faced travellers could only look on this morning as demolition equipment moved onto the site where many have lived illegally for the last ten years.

Basildon Council leader Tony Ball said the authority was committed to carrying out the operation in a safe manner. He added: 'As always, the health and safety of council officers, partners and everyone on the site is our top priority.

'Again, we have been made aware that there are residents who want to leave the site and are being prevented from doing so by the barricade and the actions of the protesters.

'I hope that there are no repeats of yesterday's scenes of premeditated violence and disorder from the protesters on the site, and that we can get on with the job of upholding the law, and clearing the site in a safe, professional and dignified way.'

There are 54 unauthorised plots on the illegal half of Dale Farm, although a court order dictates that six will remain. Other plots can be only partially removed.

Calm after the storm: The main entrance to Dale Farm last night after a day of violent clashes between protesters and police

Two young traveller girls look on yesterday as protesters are removed from the scaffolding and diggers, right, dismantle the barricade protecting their homes

Clashes: A protester is pushed back by police as the evictions begin yesterday

Hanging around: Bailiffs advance yesterday afternoon to remove protesters who had chained themselves to the site's entrance by their necks

  7am — 150 police officers in riot gear smashed down a rear fence into the site, before cutting electricity. Violent clashes with protesters follow as police use Tasers

7.40am — Supporters built more barricades inside the site as police held the line

7.58am — Protesters set fire to a caravan placed across the street inside the site

8.16am — Stand-off at main gate as supporters climbed up scaffolding

8.25am — Police broke barricade into site

8.34am — Stand-off develops as police and protesters decide on the next move

9.16am — Supporters try to get emergency injunction to halt eviction, accusing police of 'brutality and illegal destruction of property'

9.54am — Police start removing protesters from 40ft high scaffolding on main gate — several taken away in handcuffs

12.57pm — With stalemate continuing, police start to move heavy lifting gear towards the tower which is the gateway to the camp

1.36pm — Dale Farm resident Cornelius Sheridan, in his 50s and seriously ill, taken to hospital. Supporters say it's because power supply to his defibrillator was cut.

1.56pm — Police use cherry picker to talk to protesters on the gantry, and then remove equipment from it.

4.40pm — Final seven supporters removed from tower — four more are chained beneath the main platform

5.36pm — Amnesty International condemned Basildon Council for conducting 'a forced eviction on an unprecedented scale'

The multimillion-pound clearance descended into violence yesterday, with two people Tasered and missiles thrown at police.

An ambulance service spokesman said one resident had been taken to hospital and another was receiving treatment. Four others refused treatment.

Police said they had decided to lead the operation after it became clear that bailiffs would be met by violence.

Superintendent Trevor Roe of Essex Police said: 'The tactic was to take early control of the site.

'Where we have intelligence there is likely to be violence we need to protect members of the public including bailiffs, police officers, travellers and protesters from injury.'

The clearance follows a decade-long row over the unauthorised development of travellers' plots on green belt land.

The raid to clear the site began at dawn yesterday demonstrators quickly retaliated by throwing a hail of missiles and buckets of urine at the officials entering the area. This resulted in two people then being shot with Taser guns by police officers.

But progress in evicting the travellers was slow as police officers had to first deal with the hundreds of protesters who had descended on the site to fight the residents' cause.

Electricity was cut soon after the operation began and moments later a caravan was set alight, sending flames and thick black smoke into the air.

After a 90-minute stand-off, the police made another push into the site at 9.25am and scaled the scaffolding put up at the entrance to the camp.

Throughout the afternoon officers and bailiffs worked to remove seven protesters who had secured themselves to the scaffolding tower with ropes.

By then nearly all of the traveller families had left Dale Farm and were watching proceedings from a neighbouring legal site.

Officials used a cherry picker to get to the to top of the 40ft scaffolding and then worked their way down.

By 5pm the tower was cleared.

The tower will be guarded overnight before it is finally torn down.

There were angry confrontations with the travellers, with insults thrown at the police throughout the day.

But they continued with the eviction and strapped together the legs and arms of a man who was lying on the roof of a small building.

Wearing helmets and clutching shields, the officers turned up at the site determined to tackle the travellers who last night declared 'this time it's war — bring it on'.

The police had prepared under the cover of darkness and marched over nearby countryside to arrive at the back of the site just before 7.30am.

A warning klaxon was sounded three times to notify travellers  then bulldozers were used to smash down fences.

Police hacked through shabby fences to get into the site.

At another barricade, a strong line of officers ignored a rambling traveller and pushed forward.

Anarchists were chained by their necks to ruined vehicles filled with concrete.

Just 24 hours earlier, following years of negotiations that cost the taxpayer £18million, the travellers lost their bid to keep the homes that had been built illegally on green belt land.

Essex Police said two protesters had been Tasered today and 34 people arrested.

They made a number of attempts to negotiate with demonstrators to leave the site peacefully.

The force said: 'The men and women have mainly been arrested for obstructing bailiffs and while a number have refused to provide details of their name and address, the majority live outside Essex.

'Only one man lives in Basildon and he is not a resident at Dale Farm. Police can confirm that the protesters on the gantry have now all been removed.'

'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.'

A man has been released on police bail following his arrest for violent disorder, and another man has been bailed after being held for public order offences.

A woman has been charged with failing to remove a face covering, under the Criminal Justice and Public Order Act. She has been bailed to Southend Magistrates' Court on November 2.

A 34-year-old man arrested for breach of the peace has been released without charge. A further 30 people are in police custody and will be questioned by officers during the day.

Police anticipate that they will be able to hand the site over to the bailiffs under the direction of Basildon Council for the lawful site clearance to continue.

Last stand: An activist who calls herself 'Minty' and claims to be of 'Palestinian blood line' holds aloft a crucifix as behind her a caravan is burned to the ground yesterday

The first mark: A policeman swings an axe at the fence surrounding the illegal camp as the clearance begins shortly after sunrise yesterday morning

Shock tactics: Police fire Tasers as they force their way past a metal barricade in the perimeter of the compound at dawn yesterday

Bonfire: A hooded yob with a scarf covering his face tosses a black bin bag full of rubbish on to the smouldering remains of a caravan yesterday

Conflict: Dale Farm residents and protesters squared up to police officers throughout the proceedings yesterday

Angry: Protesters throw bricks as riot police try to break through a fence during the Dale Farm eviction yesterday

Overhead: The scene of the long awaited eviction at Dale Farm yesterday

Labour leader Ed Miliband last night appeared to sympathise  with the travellers by suggesting that the tactics had been heavy-handed.

He called for ‘greater sensitivity' to be shown by the council in the next stage of the operation.

During a question-and-answer session on Twitter, Mr Miliband said: ‘Alternative provisions should be made for travellers and far greater sensitivity shown by council in enforcement of law.'

Residents in neighbouring counties have been preparing themselves for an influx of the evicted travellers.

Park wardens have started digging trenches around open land to ensure that caravans cannot be driven onto the grass.

Supermarkets have also stepped up security to prevent the travellers from using their carparks and road junctions are being monitored.

Farmers in the area surrounding Dale Farm have placed hay bales and farming equipment at the entrances to their land to prevent residents getting in following the eviction, local residents said.

One said: 'They have begun to do this in the last couple of weeks. It looks like it is to stop evicted residents getting on to the farms.'

Tony Ball, leader of Basildon Council, said: 'We now believe that those who want to leave peacefully have already done so and those who are left have made it clear that they have no intention of co-operating with the council.

'Resistance and violence as some are now suggesting will be in nobody's interest — especially not the travellers or their families. We now must get on with the difficult job of clearing Dale Farm in as safe and dignified a manner as possible — and that is what we will now do.

Mr Ball thanked the police and congratulated them on the professional way they had carried out the operation.

He said: 'When I became a councillor, it was never in my mind and never did I want to preside over an operation where we saw riot police on the streets of Basildon. But I am absolutely clear that after 10 years of negotiation to try and find a peaceful solution to this that actually what we're doing is the right thing.

'I think we have seen from the level of violence put up by the protesters this morning that it was absolutely right that the police led the operation.'


1960s Small numbers of travellers begin to settle alongside the Dale Farm site, part of which was authorised as a scrapyard.

1990s The site has grown to 37 plots authorised by Basildon Council.

2001 Dale Farm traveller families began to set up pitches illegally on green belt land.

2005, May- Travellers are ordered to leave Dale Farm after a planning inspector declares the development illegal. Basildon Council votes to bring enforcement action.

June — Actor and political activist Corin Redgrave suffers a heart attack while speaking at a Basildon Council meeting discussing the future of Dale Farm. He describes travellers as 'the most deprived community in the country'.

2006, May — Dale Farm travellers hold a vigil outside Westminster as the Government discusses new guidance on gypsy and traveller sites.

2007, December — The Save Dale Farm Campaign appeals for a rethink following a Basildon Council ruling to hire eviction specialists and bulldoze the site.

2008, May — Travellers celebrate the opening of a new community centre despite continuing court action from Basildon Council to allow the eviction to go ahead.

January — The Court of Appeal rules that an earlier judgment in the High Court — which quashed Basildon Council's decision to take enforcement action — was flawed. Lord Justice Pill said the decision to clear the site was lawful.

2011, March — Basildon Council votes for a fresh resolution to clear Dale Farm. Officials estimate the eviction will cost more than £18 million. The Government agrees to part-fund the council and police operations.

July — Eviction notices are served by Basildon Council. The council gives residents occupying 51 unauthorised pitches 28 days to vacate the land.

August 8 — The campaign to stop the eviction gathers pace as actress and human rights campaigner Vanessa Redgrave visits Dale Farm. Activists begin to set up 'Camp Constant' to help defend travellers. Lawyers fail in a High Court bid to halt the eviction.

September 5 — The date for the beginning of the clearance is revealed as September 19. Travellers criticise the council after the date was leaked to the media before they were informed.

September 16 — Elderly resident Mary Flynn given a final chance to challenge the clearance of the site.

September 18 — Supporters and travellers resisting the clearance of Dale Farm lock down the site as they prepare for the arrival of bailiffs.

September 19 — Bailiffs arrive at the main gate of Dale Farm to start the eviction of up to 80 families living on the unauthorised plot. Later, the residents win a last-gasp injunction preventing the council from clearing structures.

September 21 — Travellers flee the site amid fears of eviction. A group of travellers claiming to be from Dale Farm relocate to a public park in Luton.

September 26 — Residents win a temporary reprieve. A judge rules that residents are entitled to an extension of an injunction stopping their evictions until the courts have ruled on the legality of their proposed removal.

October 17 — Residents refused permission to appeal against a High Court ruling that gave Basildon Council the go-ahead to evict them.

October 19 — Supporters clash with bailiffs and riot police as the planned eviction finally gets under way.

Constituency Tory MP John Baron (Basildon and Billericay) said: 'It's unfortunate that some protesters have resorted to violence. The police were right to take control of the site's clearance.

'The protesters were there at the request of the travellers and I urge the travellers now to ask the protesters to leave peacefully and lead by example and leave themselves.

'From what I have seen, the police have acted fairly and responsibly. Don't forget some protesters were throwing rocks, carrying iron bars and threatening violence.

'The police have been restrained but at the end of the day, the police have got to defend themselves to ensure there is no violence.'

Bishop of Chelmsford Stephen Cottrell said: '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.'

One activist, who was preparing to lock herself to a wrecked car forming part of the barricade inside Dale Farm, said this morning that she expected police and bailiffs to enter the site 'any way they can'.

'The fact that police and bailiffs are being paid millions of pounds to tear families out of their homes is a disgrace,' she said.

Last-minute work to reinforce the barricades behind the main gate at the site in Essex was carried out yesterday.

Two cars and a former Russian military vehicle were parked behind the gate. Piles of wood and bricks were piled up at key points as the complex was secured.

But this morning, unlike the farcical scenes last month, the police showed no leniency and barged their way through the ramshackle band of protesters and anarchists.

Despite the potential for ugly confrontations, sources at Basildon Council were quietly confident their operation — was better placed to succeed than on September 19 when the emergency injunction was approved.

Dozens of activists have returned to the site in the hope of taking part in the 'Battle of Basildon'. One shouted: 'This time it's war — bring it on.'

Protesters sent out emails and text messages to sympathetic friends in an attempt to increase their numbers.

But the number of supporters inside the site has fallen from more than 100 a month ago, when the council was first expected to begin the clearance, to fewer than 50 now. A similar number of travellers remain in their homes.

They failed in a final farcical attempt to have the eviction stopped in the Court of Appeal.

Dozens of bailiffs arrived at a compound neighbouring the site for last-minute preparations. Two diggers and a crane were on standby.

At a nearby police compound, van loads of officers had been arriving throughout the day.

At the earlier meeting, the council said it had only intended to discuss health and safety, not to negotiate.

Campaigner Gratton Puxon said: 'We raised health concerns about a number of residents, including one who needed medical attention last night.

'We also tried to discuss how elderly travellers will be able to access legal homes, which will stay, if roads and hard standings are destroyed. As things stand the council will not budge and can move in at any time and there is no hope of a resolution.'

The clearance of 54 unauthorised plots, home to about 80 families, follows a decade-long row over the development of the green belt site.

Last week the travellers lost a High Court bid to stop the eviction and on Monday they were refused the chance to appeal against the ruling.

Len Gridley, 52, who has spent a decade fighting for the travellers to be evicted from land at the bottom of his garden, said he was cautiously optimistic that the clearance would start soon. ‘I think they might actually have reached a point where it could happen but until I have waved goodbye to that last caravan I will never be sure,' he said.

‘We have been at this point already before and then the travellers have another trick up their sleeve so we shall see.'

Dale Farm resident Kathleen McCarthy added: 'The lawyers say this is the end. We'll have to fight the bailiffs off. We're already in lockdown.

'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.'

Mr Ball condemned the violence.
He said: '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.'

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.'

Resident Nora Egan, who was escorted off the site by medics after she claimed to have injured her back, said she told police they were not entitled to break down fences, which are legal.She said: 'This is being led by the police, there is no sign of bailiffs.'

Margaret Sheridan also claimed she was injured. 'They're rough and there is no reasoning with them.'

The battle to reclaim the site has been ongoing since the 1960s when small numbers of travellers began to settle alongside the Dale Farm site, part of which was authorised as a scrapyard.

By the 1990s the encampment had grown to 37 plots which had been authorised by the council.

But problems began in 2001 when travellers began to set up more pitches on adjoining green belt land. It was at this point that objections began by local residents and the council began legal action.

Negotiations began but by 2005 the travellers were ordered to leave the site as Basildon Council voted to bring enforcement action.

By 2011 a lengthy legal battle between the High Court and Court of Appeal had been carried out.

The entire saga is estimated to cost taxpayers an estimated £22million — or more than £250,000 to shift every traveller family on the site.

Basildon Council who are part-funding the eviction are having to knock £7million off their budgets. They have allocated £8m to removing the travellers.

Hiring bailiffs Constant and Co is costing the authority an estimated £2.2million and it is predicted that a further £1.5million will have to be spent returning the site to greenbelt land, the Daily Telegraph reported.

Once the eviction is complete a further £1m will have to be spent giving the Dale Farm residents temporary housing. Separately, Essex Police are spending an estimated £12.5million removing the travellers. The Home Office is expected to fund just under half the policing bill.

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