Created: Sunday, 22 May 2016 18:46
Written by London Branches
On Saturday 21 May the Revolutionary Communist Group joined a protest, entitled ‘Dosta, Grinta, Enough!’ It was called to challenge the new housing and planning laws that both redefine Gypsy, Roma and Traveller identity and seek to deny the community a culturally appropriate home.
A demonstration took place in Parliament Square, where protesters took over the roads, marching loudly with horses and wagons, banners and placards claiming the streets of Whitehall! ‘Travellers have human rights!’ was the message shouted at Westminster! Representatives from Gypsy, Roma and Traveller communities across Britain and Ireland then held a rally opposite the Houses of Parliament.
The message was clear- the new Housing and Planning Act is a direct attack on their communities.
Alongside the fact that it will put an end to secure lifetime council tenancies, bring in market rates and push people in to private rented accommodation - it is also a massive attack on Gypsies’ and Travellers’ rights. Sites won't be built and the Accommodation Needs Assessments will no longer be statutory. Speakers highlighted the daily racism against their community - which will only be exacerbated by the new laws.
Romany Gypsies and Irish Travellers have ethnic status, yet they are marginalised and have to constantly fight to maintain their cultural way of life. There is a dire shortage of appropriate accommodation for travelling families, and this is going to be made even worse with new Act.
The new laws will limit the development of new Gypsy and Traveller sites and potentially threaten those living on existing public or private legal Traveller sites. Much of the community will be forced back onto the road either because they will be made homeless, or because they will be required to ‘prove’ their status and heritage to retain their homes.
The rally was called as a people’s march welcoming all who support the Gypsy and Travellers cause, and a democratic open mic meant many different supporters were able to speak. The Revolutionary Communist Group speaker highlighted the need for all progressive forces to organise against this vicious legislation that will be used to accelerate the social cleansing of whole communities, and to unite with all those facing the racist policies of the British state.
Travellers’ right are human rights! More sites now!
Social housing NOT social cleansing!