Essex

Dale Farm eviction: Police in control snatch suspects

  • 19 October 2011
  • From the section Essex
Gantry
Riot police prepare to remove protesters from the gantry over the main gate at Dale farm

After police stormed into the UK's largest illegal travellers site at Dale Farm through a rear perimeter fence and reached the front gate a calm descended.

A line of police officers and the protesters staged a stand off.

It followed a running battle where more than 100 police officers had pushed through the site.

Then snatch squads went in to grab people they believed had been involved in law breaking or criminal damage.

Protesters hurled abuse, bottles, bricks and debris at the police line that sheltered below riot shields.

By 09:00 BST the first bailiffs began to appear and before long there were 10 visible.

Leading resident Mary Sheridan appeared sporting a graze on her face which she said she received when pushed over by the police.

Some of the travellers began packing their belongings from their mobile homes preparing to leave.

The next phase is to remove the people from the gantry above the main gate so that it can be safely opened.

There are about 25 people up there and they are bringing them down one by one.

Heavy machinery and bailiffs wait outside to move on to the site once it is safe.

Most of the traveller residents are not involved in the confrontation but the protesters are still defiant and say they are determined to stay for as long as it takes.

Police and bailiffs are proceeding slowly and cautiously to remove them in an operation that will take some time.

All the while the eyes of the world's media focus on Dale Farm.

Many caravans are being moved on to legal plots and it looks like the bailiffs will not have many to move once they break through.

The residents themselves are pleading for time to move their caravans on to the far side of the nearby A127 and say they will move peaceably.

However, they say they will not be beaten by what they see as an intrusion by riot police and accuse the council of using government money for an exercise in ethnic cleansing.

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