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Dublin: 16 °C Wednesday 1 October, 2014

Police and protesters clash as evictions begin at Dale Farm

Supporters of the Irish travellers have clashed with police as a caravan has been set alight on the site.

A caravan baracade on fire at Dale Farm this morning
A caravan baracade on fire at Dale Farm this morning

RESIDENTS WHO HAVE not yet left the Dale Farm traveller site in Essex will be evicted today as protesters and police have clashed early this morning.

The Irish traveller community were told on Monday that they would not be given leave to appeal a High Court ruling last week to have their eviction by Basildon Council overturned effectively ending a long legal battle to remain on the illegal site.

This morning bailiffs are set to move in and already there have been clashes with some supporters detained by police following violent clashes.

The Guardian cites a PA report saying that electricity supplies to the site have been cut which means crucial medical equipment belonging to elderly residents has gone down, according to supporters.

Supporters have erected barricades as police held their line. Sky News is broadcasting pictures of a caravan on fire.

Riot police entering Dale Farm this morning (Twitter: ITV News)

Speaking on RTÉ’s Morning Ireland Dale Farm Residents Association president Richard Sheridan said about a “couple of hundred” residents were still on the site and that there were “hundreds and hundreds of police” with some arrests having already taking place.

Asked if residents would leave the site peacefully, Sheridan insisted “we’ve no place to go” and said that residents could not get out as “the gate is locked.”

The eviction operation is costing the council some £18 million but the travellers and groups acting on their behalf believe money can be saved and have pushed for further mediation and negotiations.

The site has been the subject of a ten-year legal battle between residents and the local authorities in Basildon, which lies around 25 miles east of central London.

Dale Farm was initially a legal halting site but subsequently a number of extra caravan plots have gone up without planning permission and some local residents have complained.

Column: The Dale Farm circus is the last thing Travellers need

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