Stop Racism against Harlow Travellers!

News / Sun 19th Jul 2020 at 08:08am

Stop Racism against Harlow Travellers!

STAND up to Racism Harlow have spoken out against the resurrection of racism towards Travellers in Harlow following Harlow Council’s decision to withdraw their application to extend the injunction against unauthorised encampments.

The full statement is below:


On Friday 10 July, Harlow Council decided to withdraw their application to revise the High Court injunction against unauthorised traveller encampments.

A spokesperson for SUTR said: “There are a wide range of opinions on unauthorised encampments and the possible solutions to the lack of site provision that Gypsies and Travellers face. We don’t wish to speak on that here.

But we must speak out regarding the resurrection of the unacceptable racism towards Travellers that peaked around 2014.

Already there have been numerous articles about the decision, there are politicians trying to stir up hatred to score points and we have seen some unacceptable comments online that have not been challenged.

According to these disgusting comments (most of which are still up on the Council’s Facebook page) Travellers are “filthy people” who will “flood back” “bringing the virus with them”.

The Council speak of their duty to residents but they have a duty to ALL residents of Harlow and that includes the Gypsy-Traveller community who are now having to endure this latest storm.

We would like to see the Council make clear that they unequivocally oppose such rhteroric and that racism towards Gypsies and Travellers will not be tolerated. At the very least, they must immediately review the posts on their page and remove the aforementioned comments which are a stain on Harlow.

Around six years ago a group of Harlow anti-racists marched onto a traveller camp site with a banner saying TRAVELLERS ARE WELCOME HERE

“This wasn’t a comment on the unauthorised encampments, injunctions, trespass or any other legal issue. It was a group of people who’d had enough of the constant barrage of abuse, threats and poison towards the Gypsy-Traveller community in our town. We wanted to make clear that those bigots didn’t speak for everyone.

The enduring image from the day was a young girl who was moved to tears. In her young life she had not experienced a group of locals march onto a campsite to offer support and she was overwhelmed.

And that is part of the problem; when people are whipped up into attacking a particular group they forget that we are dealing with human beings. Human beings that are having to once again see a constant barrage of poison on their news feeds.

Six years later we want to make clear that those making disgusting comments against Gypsies and Travellers today don’t speak for us.

“When we say Stand up to Racism that means ALL racism.

“Travellers are welcome in Harlow.”

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