Seven held after Dale Farm clashes

view gallery VIEW GALLERY

The multi-million pound eviction of travellers on the Dale Farm site descended into violence today with two people Tasered and missiles thrown at police.

There were seven arrests after riot police entered the UK's largest illegal travellers' site in Essex to clear the way for bailiffs.



Around 50 officers were pelted with rocks and liquids as they broke down a rear fence to get in.



Protesters chanted: "F*** the police, no justice, no peace." They also set fire to a caravan placed across the street inside the site.



The eviction has begun after the travellers lost their final high court battle to stop Basildon Council going ahead with the clearance of illegal plots.



Tonight police had secured the area and removed protesters from a 40ft high scaffolding tower which had been erected at main gate to the site. It is being dismantled which officials hope should allow access for the bailiffs tomorrow to begin removing the plots.



But sporadic clashes between police and protesters were continuing tonight.



Electricity supplies were cut and supporters said this had turned off crucial medical equipment belonging to elderly residents.



Paramedics were escorted on to the site by supporters to treat resident Nora Egan, who claimed she suffered back injuries in a confrontation with police.



Essex Police said they would investigate the circumstances leading up to a woman receiving "a minor back injury".



Margaret Sheridan also claimed she was injured. "They're rough and there is no reasoning with them," she said.



Kathleen McCarthy, a Dale Farm resident, said: "The memory of Dale Farm will weigh heavily on Britain for generations - we are being dragged out of the only homes we have in this world.



"Our entire community is being ripped apart by Basildon Council and the politicians in Government."



An ambulance service spokesman said one resident had been taken to hospital and another was receiving treatment. Four others refused treatment.



Supporters said resident Cornelius Sheridan, who is in his 50s and seriously ill, was taken to hospital after the power supply to his defibrillator had been cut.



Superintendent Trevor Roe of Essex Police said: "The tactic was to take early control of the site. Where we have intelligence there is likely to be violence we need to protect members of the public including bailiffs, police officers, travellers and protesters from injury.



"We also needed to provide access for all emergency services should they need to enter and exit the site.



"Serious violence was offered to two officers and their response was to protect themselves by deploying Taser. Tasers are not generally deployed in public order situations but in this case the officers were threatened directly."



The seven people were arrested for offences including violent disorder and a breach of the peace.



Basildon Council leader Tony Ball condemned the violence.



He said: "When I became a councillor, it was never in my mind and never did I want to preside over an operation where we saw riot police on the streets of Basildon.



"But I am absolutely clear that after 10 years of negotiation to try and find a peaceful solution to this that actually what we're doing is the right thing.



"I think we have seen from the level of violence put up by the protesters this morning that it was absolutely right that the police led the operation."



One evicted resident said: "I'm so angry and dismayed that people are actually doing this. The rest of the world is also persecuting people who choose to live differently from the so-called norm.



"They (police and bailiffs) shouldn't be doing it. What I'm hearing is that they are not being as gentle as they would like to believe. People have been pushed over and have hurt themselves."



Constituency Tory MP John Baron (Basildon and Billericay) said: "It's unfortunate that some protesters have resorted to violence. The police were right to take control of the site's clearance.



"The protesters were there at the request of the travellers and I urge the travellers now to ask the protesters to leave peacefully and lead by example and leave themselves.



"From what I have seen, the police have acted fairly and responsibly. Don't forget some protesters were throwing rocks, carrying iron bars and threatening violence.



"The police have been restrained but at the end of the day, the police have got to defend themselves to ensure there is no violence."



It has been estimated that the cost of evicting residents could soar to £18 million.



Basildon Council officials estimate that council costs could rise to £8 million and police costs to nearly £10 million for the operation.



The council said: "The estimated direct operational cost of £6.5 million, together with estimated post-operational costs of £1.5 million, produce a total of £8 million. However, this is considered to be a worst-case scenario."

PA

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment
Inner sanctum: Tove Jansson and friends in her studio in 1992
booksWhat was the inspiration for Finland's most famous family?
Arts and Entertainment
Singer songwriter Bob Dylan performs on stage
films
Arts and Entertainment
booksPhotographer Richard Young has been snapping celebrities at play for 40 years - but he says it wasn’t all fun and games
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Jenna Coleman, Peter Capaldi and Nick Frost star in the Doctor Who Christmas Special, Last Christmas
TV
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Austen Lloyd: Commercial Property Lawyer - Cheshire

Excellent Salary: Austen Lloyd: CHESHIRE MARKET TOWN - An exciting and rare o...

Austen Lloyd: Residential Property Solicitor - Hampshire

Excellent Salary : Austen Lloyd: NORTH HAMPSHIRE - SENIOR POSITION - An exciti...

Recruitment Genius: Gas Installation Engineer

£29000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Gas Installation Engineer is required ...

Recruitment Genius: Domestic Gas Technical Surveyor

£28000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Domestic Gas Technical Surveyor is req...

Day In a Page

Homeless Veterans Christmas Appeal: Drifting and forgotten - turning lives around for ex-soldiers

Homeless Veterans Christmas Appeal: Turning lives around for ex-soldiers

Our partner charities help veterans on the brink – and get them back on their feet
Putin’s far-right ambition: Think-tank reveals how Russian President is wooing – and funding – populist parties across Europe to gain influence in the EU

Putin’s far-right ambition

Think-tank reveals how Russian President is wooing – and funding – populist parties across Europe to gain influence in the EU
Tove Jansson's Moominland: What was the inspiration for Finland's most famous family?

Escape to Moominland

What was the inspiration for Finland's most famous family?
Nightclubbing with Richard Young: The story behind his latest book of celebrity photographs

24-Hour party person

Photographer Richard Young has been snapping celebrities at play for 40 years. As his latest book is released, he reveals that it wasn’t all fun and games
Michelle Obama's school dinners: America’s children have a message for the First Lady

A taste for rebellion

US children have started an online protest against Michelle Obama’s drive for healthy school meals by posting photos of their lunches
Colouring books for adults: How the French are going crazy for Crayolas

Colouring books for adults

How the French are going crazy for Crayolas
Jack Thorne's play 'Hope': What would you do as a local politician faced with an impossible choice of cuts?

What would you do as a local politician faced with an impossible choice of cuts?

Playwright Jack Thorne's latest work 'Hope' poses the question to audiences
Ed Harcourt on Romeo Beckham and life as a court composer at Burberry

Call me Ed Mozart

Paloma Faith, Lana del Ray... Romeo Beckham. Ed Harcourt has proved that he can write for them all. But it took a personal crisis to turn him from indie star to writer-for-hire
10 best stocking fillers for foodies

Festive treats: 10 best stocking fillers for foodies

From boozy milk to wasabi, give the food-lover in your life some extra-special, unusual treats to wake up to on Christmas morning
'I have an age of attraction that starts as low as four': How do you deal with a paedophile who has never committed a crime?

'I am a paedophile'

Is our approach to sex offenders helping to create more victims?
How bad do you have to be to lose a Home Office contract?

How bad do you have to be to lose a Home Office contract?

Serco given Yarl’s Wood immigration contract despite ‘vast failings’
Green Party on the march in Bristol: From a lost deposit to victory

From a lost deposit to victory

Green Party on the march in Bristol
Putting the grot right into Santa's grotto

Winter blunderlands

Putting the grot into grotto
'It just came to us, why not do it naked?' London's first nude free runner captured in breathtaking images across capital

'It just came to us, why not do it naked?'

London's first nude free runner captured in breathtaking images across capital
In a world of Saudi bullying, right-wing Israeli ministers and the twilight of Obama, Iran is looking like a possible policeman of the Gulf

Iran is shifting from pariah to possible future policeman of the Gulf

Robert Fisk on our crisis with Iran