Residents of Britain’s biggest unauthorised travellers’ site celebrated on Monday after winning a last minute legal reprieve preventing them from being evicted.
“I will tell you, it is the best bit of news I have heard all day,” said one resident at the Dale Farm site near Basildon, south east England. “Now the council might know that we are human and something has to be done and this is not proper what they are doing,” she added.
A judge has barred Basildon Council from evicting the travellers before a court hearing at the end of the week. The council says it is purely a planning dispute, while the travellers accuse officials of breaching their human rights.
“We are waiting until Friday. There is a lot of stuff we have got to do until Friday,” one protester said, as he addressed those gathered at the site. “It is brilliant that there are so many people here and with this many people we really have an amazing shot at defending the travelling community for once, when it has never happened before,” he added.
There has been a tense stand off at the Dale Farm site, home to around 400 residents. Travellers and their supporters had barricaded themselves to fences, as bailiffs gathered nearby to clear the area.
While the residents of Dale Farm are now celebrating a last minute legal reprieve, it is far from an outright victory.