At our conference today, 9th April, No One Is Illegal resolved to send this statement of support to the Zero Eviction Day event at Dale Farm in solidarity with residents facing eviction:
No One is Illegal is for Freedom of Movement and the Right to Stay for Everyone. We are against immigration controls and for a world without borders. We oppose the criminalisation of people on the grounds of who they are. Eli Wiesel; Auschwitz survivor, novelist and Nobel Prize winner adopted the expression “No One Is Illegal” because he knew precisely where such criminalisation can ultimately lead. So we support the movement of Gypsy, Roma and Traveller people and their right to settle, permenantly or temporarily.
The residents of Dale Farm are living on land that they have bought. Gypsies and Travellers throughout the country were encouraged to buy land to live on after the requirement for local authorities to provide sites was removed. But cruelly when they did this local voices were mobilised to ensure that planning permission was not granted. So generations, from babies to grannies, live ‘illegally’ on their own land with all the uncertainties and dangers that implies.
The ‘legal’ argument against the rights of the community at Dale Farm is based on the claim that they are encroaching on green belt land. This might be what appears on maps. But the truth is that prior to the community buying and settling this land it was a scrap metal yard! The local council and the objectors know this perfectly well. Behind the smokescreen of green belt land lies racism.
On the strength of this dishonesty and bigotry, the Tory leader of Basildon District Council trumpets the need to “Uphold the Rule of Law” against this community and has commited £8 million pounds of council reserves to the eviction with a possible extra £10 million if the Home Office don’t provide the police with extra funds to assist with the eviction.
The Council has commissioned the baillifs Constance & Co to carry out the eviction. This is a company known for its brutal evictions of Gypsy and Traveller sites.
No One Is Illegal believes that the persecution, harassment and eviction of Gypsies, Roma and Travellers in Britain is part and parcel of what is being carried out by the authorities France, in Italy and many Eastern Europe countries against Roma people.
No One Is Illegal will stand with other organisations and activists to take part in Camp Constance being established to resist the eviction of Dale Farm.