As the eviction of travellers from Britain’s largest travellers’ site turned into a miasma of violence today, we pray that families and local authorities move forward in a spirit of dignity and restraint.
“We were promised a peaceful eviction… but this isn’t it.”
In a joint statement, the Roman Catholic Bishop of Brentwood, the Rt Rev Thomas McMahon, and the Anglican Bishop of Chelmsford, the Rt Rev Stephen Cottrell, said they were praying for everyone affected by the “distressing situation”. The Bible reminds us to “Listen to the voice of refugees” but that’s a difficult proposition in the midst of a media-field day.
The battle between residents and the local council over the site has raged for 10 years. The green belt land was bought legally by the travellers but problems arose when they started to build on it without planning permission.
Local clergy have visited the site on several occasions to offer support to the travellers.
Bishop McMahon and Bishop Cottrell called for a “peaceful approach” -at least- to the eviction of the settlers.
“Confrontation and violence only breed further hardship and distress and are not the answer to the present circumstances,” they said.
“We would encourage the families at Dale Farm and the local authorities to move forward in a spirit of dignity and restraint.”
The clearance of the site is expected to take a few days and cost £18m.
- Dale Farm eviction: Essex police’s use of Tasers at close range criticised (guardian.co.uk)
- Dale Farm Travellers seek more time for planning applications (guardian.co.uk)
- Judge ponders Dale Farm evictions (bbc.co.uk)
- You: Dale Farm Travellers prepare for imminent eviction battle (guardian.co.uk)
- Judge to rule on gypsy eviction (thesun.co.uk)
- Dale Farm eviction now untenable | Dale Farm Solidarity (worldwright.wordpress.com)
- Urgent call for Basildon Council to return to negotiation – via Dale Farm Solidarity (1) (worldwright.wordpress.com)
- ‘We’ll stay at Dale Farm for another 30 years’ (thesun.co.uk)
- Dale Farm evictions: pitch battle | Editorial (guardian.co.uk)