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Previous | Next :: Traveller Boy : Below the Westway : London UK | October 19, 2011, 11:06 am

Traveller Boy : Below the Westway : London UK
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Residents and activists hurled missiles at police and a caravan was torched as the clearance of Britain's biggest illegal travellers' site got under way today.

Shortly before sunrise, at 7.30am, at the culmination of a decade-long court battle, more than 50 police in riot gear entered the Dale Farm site in southeast England to begin clearing the the camp.

They were met with resistance from seasoned activists who have joined the Irish traveller residents at the site near the town of Basildon in Essex.

Many of the demonstrators taking on the police wore blue jumpsuits and face masks.

Police said two people were shot with Taser stun guns, while one person was arrested. They entered the camp from the back, bypassing the barricades built up by protesters at the front entrance.

Some female residents were seen in tears as the police lines approached, and residents shouted abuse at the police.

Dale Farm has famously been the biggest illegal travelers site in Britain. The travellers themselves own the land but do not have planning permission for their large sprawling campground, so Basildon Council started a legal action to move them over a decade back. It has been a very bitter battle, the council like most others, is accused of not having made reasonable provision for travellers to have a site.

The travellers have exhausted every legal defense and now they have attempted to physically defend their property in desperation.

When I was last back in the UK I intended to find a day to go to Dale Farm but I never did get over there. So I have nothing specific from there.

But as we were going through some old cuttings yesterday........ old tear sheets and cuttings with my photography in all sorts of magazines that were scanned....... like the cutting from 'Stern Magazine' that you see on the last blog post........... I saw I had this cover photo on my desktop that shows a child who lived on an illegal travelers site below the 'Westway' ....... a raised Highway leading into London. I shot this back in the early 1990's this child will be grown up by now....... I wonder how many evictions he may have faced throughout his childhood.


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