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Dale Farm Latest Thursday

20th October 2011
Posted by Gateway 97.8

Travellers and the remaining protesters have staged a mass walkout of Dale Farm as bailiffs began the eviction process.

Dozens of people, surrounded by members of the media, chanted “Save Dale Farm” as they slowly walked out of the illegal part of the site at 16:45 BST.

Police entered Dale Farm on Wednesday following a 10-year legal dispute between residents and Basildon council.

Resident Kathleen McCarthy said they walked out with “dignity” and with their heads held high.

‘Proud people’

“It is a terrible moment, very sad, but the time has come,” she said.

“Our message to the council is shame on the council – you have left us homeless.

“We are proud people and we only ever wanted to leave peacefully.”

Dale Farm evictionA barricade at the main entrance was demolished ahead of the eviction

Resident Mary Sheridan said: “Leaving with supporters today is about our own dignity and our appreciation of the support we’ve received.

“We’re leaving together as one family, and we are proud of that – you can’t take away our dignity”.

Those on foot gathered on the main road to Dale Farm and were followed by several vans, many of which were towing a caravan.

Some travellers parked up for the night on the legal side of the site but said they would move on in the morning.

Others headed to surrounding roads, saying they would spend the night by roadsides.

‘Very encouraging’

The mass walkout leaves the site free of people except legal observers, who are required to make sure the bailiffs comply with the law.

Tony Ball, leader of Basildon Council, said: “This is very encouraging to see the travellers and their supporters leaving Dale Farm in a peaceful and dignified manner, something that I have always urged and called for.

“Sadly, this could have been achieved many years ago and without the scenes of violence which we have witnessed over the last 48 hours and the accompanying expense to the taxpayer.

“Nevertheless, as I have said, it is encouraging and we now look forward to their continued compliance.”

The travellers own Dale Farm but 49 plots did not have planning permission.

Basildon Council has said it had offered travellers alternative accommodation.

On Monday, a Court of Appeal judge refused the travellers’ final bid to halt the eviction.

Scaffolding dismantled

On Wednesday Essex Police entered the site and were met with missiles.

Once calm had returned officers used a cherry picker to remove protesters who were chained to a scaffolding structure at the main entrance to the site.

On Thursday morning, six protesters still chained to barricades were removed and the scaffolding was dismantled to allow the eviction to start.

Bailiffs began demolishing the first plot shortly before the walkout.

Police have made 39 arrests at Dale Farm for a number of offences.

A 26-year-old woman has been charged with a public order offence for failing to remove a face covering and is due to appear at court on 2 November.

Twenty-three people have been released on bail; one has been released with no further action and 14 remain in custody, police said.

A police spokesman said they were pleased with how the operation had been handled.