Dale Farm: The Eviction Will Take Place Today, Say Council Leaders
Negotiations between the travellers and Basildon Council have reportedly failed.
The council leaders entered the site hoping to bring about a peaceful solution to the standoff.
However, the reprieve for the travellers was only brief.
Basildon council has confirmed that the eviction will happen on Monday.
Earlier, council leader Tony Ball confirmed:
"Negotiations are taking place and that's why the bailiffs have not gone in.
"We are talking to families in the hope that one or two will leave peacefully before we have to enter the site.
"When that time comes, six to 10 men will go to the site entrance and ask to go through to individual caravans where they will knock on the door and ask what assistance they need to leave.
"If they do not allow us in then we will begin action.
"Once it starts it will move swiftly and the site will be cleared."
On Monday morning, a tense showdown was expected between bailiffs and the residents of Dale Farm as Essex authorities prepared to evict the travellers from the six-acre site.
Inside the camp, residents and protestors have created rudimentary fortifications, barricading themselves in alongside supporters. Makeshift scaffolding and quickly built bricks walls have been erected.
Residents and volunteers look down on the entrance from a 10-metre platform built above the main gate.
Teams of bailiffs are due to arrive at 10am on Monday morning to clear out the 400 people who remain on the site.
According to the BBC, resident representative Mary Sheridan “has applied for a personal injunction in another bid to stop the evictions and this will be heard by the Court of Appeal at 11:30am”.
The delaying tactic is not expected to work, and many children and older residents have already left.
Essex Police, along with riot-trained officers, are at the site to keep the peace.
The standoff comes after a ten-year legal battle to remove the residents of Britain’s largest illegal travellers’ site.
The Dale Farm encampment, which was built on the site of a former scrapyard, has been the scene of tense exchanges in recent weeks, following notice that the residents had to leave.
Awaiting the bailiff’s arrival, two protestors have chained themselves to a barrel behind the Dale Farm gate. Dean, 29, and Emma, 18 said: “They are prepared to stay as long as it takes”.
Throughout the site, more protestors have reportedly chained themselves to obstacles to hamper the eviction process.
One chained protestor said: "There are people here from all over the world and the travellers have made us so welcome. It has become increasingly difficult for travellers to find a site in recent years. Planning law is very discretionary and we do not feel it's being used fairly."
Dale Farm Resident Kathleen McCarthy said: "If they had any human decency this could be stopped, I plead and beg to stop this. Look what these people (the protesters) are doing to save us."
Speaking to the BBC, she said:
"I don't want my children to be in danger, so we're moving them. But we've got nowhere to go after Monday. We don't know what's going to happen to us."
According to the Guardian, the bailiffs will not only move the families but also “caravans and mobile homes after which the asphalt roads will be ripped up by diggers”.