"WE WON'T GO", proclaims a banner at Dale Farm, one of the largest encampments of gypsies and travellers in England. Half of those living on the Essex site—around 50 families—face eviction by the local council, Basildon. Its leader, Tony Ball, has staked his reputation on removing them. Travellers at nearby Hovefields could also be evicted within weeks.
“我们不会走”，这是挂在Dale Farm的一条横幅——Dale Farm是英格兰几大吉普赛人和流浪者的宿营地之一。半数住在Essex地区的人（大约50户人家）面临Basildon当地议会的驱逐令。议会领袖Tony Ball早已用名誉保证会赶走他们。而Hovefields邻近地区的流浪者也会在数周内遭驱逐。
Dale Farm has become an iconic battle in a long and bitter conflict. Gypsies (of Roma descent) and travellers (often of Irish extraction) arrived at the former scrapyard over 40 years ago. More flocked in a decade ago, buying protected greenbelt land and applying for retrospective permission to live there. Around 40 families are legal; the rest are not. Violence is expected during the eviction, and the local Catholic church has offered to shelter the vulnerable.
The site looks scruffier than it did four years ago, when this correspondent last visited it. Litter drifts around empty pitches, wasps hover near overflowing bins and dogs bark outside each embattled caravan. But indoors the homes are spotless. Mary- Ann McCarthy, who keeps one of them, is depressed. Glancing at a statue of the Virgin Mary, she says, “They call us nasty thieving gypsies but we are Christian folk. They want to destroy our way of life. Everyone has rights, except for us.” She has been offered a small bedsit, but wants to be near her five daughters and 21 grandchildren, who visit her every day.
The issue of how and where travellers are to live has come to a crisis point, and not only at Dale Farm. The previous, Labour government required local authorities to find land for them and offered £150m ($235m) over five years to pay for it. But progress was slow, not least because many residents objected to new sites. The Equality and Human Rights Commission reported last year that councils would need to double their speed to meet the target of 5,733 extra pitches in England by 2011.
This sluggishness has left about a fifth of all gypsies and travellers with nowhere legal to live. Many have taken matters into their own hands, including some in the village of Meriden, in Warwickshire.
As at Dale Farm, a group of gypsies bought greenbelt land and moved on to it in May, applying only after that for permission to set up their caravans there. The villagers mounted a 24-hour blockade to prevent the gypsies from bringing building supplies into the field (the courts later forced them to allow sewerage works).
David McGrath, who speaks for the Meriden campaigners, says the gypsies have damaged a “designated wildlife site” in a precious “green lung”. “We are sympathetic,” he says, “but the gypsy and traveller community, fundamentally, are… adopting a cavalier approach to development. What they are doing is unethical and inappropriate.” The gypsies, who have lost the latest legal round in the fight to stay, say they have nowhere else to go.
They also have fewer friends in high places these days. The new government has taken a robust line, withdrawing funding for new sites, scrapping targets and considering limits on retrospective permission. Eric Pickles, the secretary for communities and local government, brands the previous policy a “failure”. He plans to offer local areas financial incentives to create new sites. But new legislation to promote localism is likely to strengthen the hand of residents who resist them.
Grattan Puxon of the Gypsy Council says his members feel “under great pressure now” in Britain and abroad. The French president, Nicolas Sarkozy, has ordered the expulsion from France of all illegal gypsy immigrants, sparking a big eviction and a riot.
吉普赛议会的Grattan Puxon表示所有成员都感到在英国和海外“现在处于极大压力下”。法国总统尼古拉斯·萨科奇（Nicolas Sarkozy）已经命令所有非法吉普赛移民离开法国，这导致“大驱逐运动”（big eviction）及暴力抵抗。
In Basildon Mr Ball says that he sympathises with the gypsies but all avenues except eviction have been exhausted. The council has offered “bricks and mortar” accommodation to all those it is obliged to house, he says. When asked where the gypsies are to go if they turn that down, he remarks that “they came from somewhere. One has to draw the line at some point. All our authorised sites are full up.” After the eviction, he says, the encampment might well become allotments.
1. 戴尔农场（Dale Farm），或戴尔公司是埃塞克斯郡（Essex）克莱斯山区（Crays Hill）奥克街道（Oak Lane）上爱尔兰流浪者定居点的一部分，建立在一个废弃的垃圾场上，住着超过1000人。这里是英国最大的流浪者定居点，而且一直有对其合法性的争论。这块地被流浪者所有，但自从那时就被重新划分为绿化带
2.绿 带 (greenbelt)指围绕城市，由园林和农田等组成的带状地区。一般由官方机构规定，用以限制城市的扩展，防止人口稠密的建成区之间连成一片