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DALE FARM FACES FINAL SHOWDOWN

UK, 26.2.2007 17:50, (Ustiben Report)

Rejection by the UK Government of final appeals from residents at Dale Farm has set the scene for a showdown in this five-year siege of Britain's biggest Travellers' community.

Throughout the past winter a hundred families waited anxiously for the results from Communities Minister Ruth Kelly - while anti-Gypsy protests led by MP John Baron continued unabated.

These demonstrations, in which supporters of the neo-facist British National Party have taken a leading part, have resulted in increased racist attacks on Travellers, including children.

No attempt at eviction is likely pending the hearing of a judicial review of Basildon council's decision to spent five million euro bulldozing Dale Farm. This is not expected until July.

But after the review, the way will be clear for Basildon to call in Constant & Co., the private bailiff company which specializes in the eviction of Gypsies.

In recent months, it has been used to destroy a number of small, private yards, some belonging to Romanies, in the Basildon district.

These activities, together with legal and planning hearing expenses, have so far cost the council some one million euros out of their total ethnic-cleansing budget.

In rejecting the right of Travellers to residee on their own land, Kelly at the same time draws attention to the fact that if evicted they will be forced to live on the roadside.

By Grattan Puxon
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