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19 October 2011
Dale Farm - Police storm in to do the bailiffs' dirty work
Stop these evictions now!
In a classic dawn attack, riot police breached the perimeter of the Dale Farm site this morning, 19th October, demolishing a wall surrounding one of the legal plots and storming through the breach with shields, batons and tasers.
The police account of the use of the electronic stun guns is wildly at odds with eyewitness accounts and photographic and video evidence.
The police claim that two officers used the electronic stun guns to protect themselves from a real and immediate threat of serious injury.
In reality, while there was some missile throwing from the back of the crowd of protesters, the officers involved discarded their shields in order to deploy their weapons as a means of driving occupiers away from the makeshift barricade that they had massed behind.
The use of these dangerous weapons as an offensive tactical tool in a "crowd control" situation must be a major concern for anyone wishing to express organised dissent in Britain today.
Electricity to the site has been cut off, forcing the evacuation of Cornelius Sheridan, an elderly man with serious pulmonary disease who relies on breathing equipment, to the local hospital. A further seven people have been injured by the police so far.
Having gained entry to the site the next objective of the police is to take down the tower gate, erected from scaffolding by direct action activists, which blocks the only road onto the site, the road down which the bailiffs need to move their heavy wrecking machinery.
Riot police are surrounding the base of the tower while other police attempt to remove protesters who are occupying the upper sections.
Those officers not engaged in this work have free run of the site, some of them giving the bailiffs a head start by demolishing fencing, all of them involved in an uncompromising and ruthless show of force.
The battle is not yet over as many volunteers are locked on to either the tower or to other substantial objects on the site.
A number of fires were lit, including one in an unoccupied caravan. The pall of smoke, the shocked faces of the residents and the uniformed ranks of armoured police give the place the atmosphere of a war zone.
It remains to be seen what the result of today's battle will be, as the bailiffs and police have clearly set themselves the task of clearing and demolishing the tower gate before darkness falls.
Dave Murray, Basildon Socialist Party
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