dale_280Under a hail of smashing bottles and flying bricks, lines of riot police push back gypsy residents and protesters dressed in black. Slowly they secure Dale Farm, the largest “illegal” gypsy site in Europe and prepare to allow bailiffs access to homes. They reduce protester numbers with injury and arrest.

After a decade of court battles over Dale Farm’s planning permission and ownership, residents are finally being forced out. Many have already cut their losses and left, vowing to return in weeks. “Even if we apply for planning permission we’re refused because of our heritage,” said Steve, an elderly Dale Farm resident. His wrinkled eyes narrow and nicotine stained fingers point, shaking heavy jewelry. In a heavy Irish accent he says, “they’re racists, bigots.”

Spike Johnson