Dale Farm - occupiers defiant
On Monday 17 October the Dale Farm residents' legal challenges to their eviction from a former scrap yard in Essex reached the end of the line, with Justice Ouseley rejecting challenges to the legality of Basildon council's operation. The council has lost no time in reassembling its squads of bailiffs and probing the defences that have been erected by Dale Farm residents and their supporters.
Hopes that a meeting with Basildon council on the morning of Tuesday 18th would open up negotiations for a reasonable and amicable settlement were dashed when Travellers' representatives were faced with a straightforward ultimatum - 'get out by tomorrow or we will put you out'.
I spoke to Grattan Puxon, a leading spokesman for the residents, fresh from the meeting, and shaking with indignation: "This is an insane joke, spending 18 or 20 million pounds to make people homeless. We need this site to live on - what does the council need it for, to turn it back into a tip?"
However, the story is far from over as the occupiers have locked the site down and volunteers are flooding in to assist. "What we've got here is a piece of unbroken Britain, but the state is coming in to break it," said Grattan. He pointed to the now famous tower gate, built to resist the evictions: "We are here for as long as it takes to hold that barricade."
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