September 5, 2011

Dale Farm traveller eviction likened to anti-Semitism

by Jan Harris

Emotions are running high over the planned eviction of travellers from the Dale Farm site in Essex, with Jewish leaders comparing the eviction to the anti-Semitism of the early 20th century.

Although the travellers own the site, around half of them are living on the Metropolitan green belt where development is forbidden under planning rules.

Rabbi Janet Burden has now spoken out in support of the travellers, saying they should be protected under human rights laws.

“I believe that the obligation to protect this ethnic minority’s way of life is a human rights issue that, in this particular and unusual case, may need to ‘trump’ the planning law designed to protect the Green Belt,” she said.

There is concern that violence could erupt when efforts are made to evict the travellers.

The Daily Mail today reports that a 50ft watchtower has been constructed at the entrance to the site, on which anarchists are stockpiling rocks, leading to fears that they could be thrown at bulldozers, or even officials entering the site on eviction day.

Meanwhile Basildon Council has warned private landowners in the area that it will not become involved in disputes if the travellers occupy private land following the eviction.

Police and council officials will only become involved in cases where violence or major disruption may occur.

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