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Kidnap threat to Gypsy children

By Gypsy Council member and writer, Grattan Puxon

A whistle-blower has revealed the existence of secret plans to seize more than a hundred Gypsy children from the besieged Dale Farm Travellers' community and take them into temporary care. If a judge gives the go-ahead, the children will be taken by force from their parents as part of the biggest anti-Gypsy operation ever mounted in Britain.

Basildon District Council has set aside five million euro to bulldoze Dale Farm and drive over a thousand so-called illegal Gypsies and Travellers from the area. It has already demolished a dozen Gypsy properties at nearby Hovefields. According to details obtained by Ustiben, Essex County Council welfare officers would enter Dale Farm village in a fleet of coaches and mini-buses, accompanied by bailiffs and police, some in riot gear.

Dale Farm protestThe media will be told the removal of infants and youngsters, among them some seventy primary-school children, along with the elderly and vulnerable, is for their own safety.They will be detained at a holding centre some miles from Dale Farm.

Officials anticipate that within hours frantic parents will call to demand their children back. According to instructions, they are to be released providing families agree immediately to leave the county under polic escort. Heavy vehicles, including JCBs, earth-movers and lowloaders will be employed for at least a week raising the village. Its five tarmacked streets, lined by fenced and walled yards, comprise 132 chalets, mobile-homes and caravans, as well as the new Saint Christopher' s community centre and chapel.

Dale Farm protestSaint Christopher’s is named after a school built by Travellers in Ireland 45 years ago and burned down by Dublin Corporation. It is the headquarters of the Dale Farm Chaveys Youth Club, formed this summer with the help of the Essex Racial Equality Council. The Gypsy Council is meeting in the centre on September 9 to discuss the threat. It has asked for and obtained a confrontation with top Essex officials at County Hall, Chelmsford, which is expected to take place later in the week.

Gypsy Council president Richard Sheridan, chair of the Dale Farm Housing Association, views the county council plan as an abuse of welfare legislation. "This is county council collusion with Basildon's policy of ethnic-cleansing" commented Sheridan, who is attending the Roma Summit in Brussels later this month. "They want to crush our homes and take away our children."

Gypsy Council secretary Joseph G. Jones, recently appointed a technical expert to the UN Advisory Committee on Forced Evictions, has submitted a report on the situation for the UN body, which met last week in Nairobi.

The issue as to whether Basildon can destroy Dale Farm, located in a greenbelt zone and lacking planning consent, without alternative accommodation being provided for the 90 families, is to be decided in the Court of Appeal on 5 December.

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