Bailiffs will enter Dale Farm today, given they can dismantle a 40ft scaffolding tower at the entrance.
Some six protesters are still chained to barricades inside the travellers site near Basildon, Essex, after police were pelted with missiles and had urine splashed over them when they tried to clear the site yesterday.
Police arrested 23 people amid the carnage. Tasers were used after two officers were reported to have been “threatened directly” amid accusations they were being too heavy handed. Those arrested are being held on suspicion of violent disorder, breach of the peace and obstruction.
Officers wearing riot gear have now cordoned off the site, having mostly wrested it from the clutch of travellers who were living there illegally.
But despite dipping temperatures last night, some protesters remained locked on to cars and trucks behind the main gate and a road block inside Dale Farm.
One protester, Harry, who is chained to the road block, said: “Last night was pretty uncomfortable but it is worth it.
“We may just be delaying the inevitable but if we don’t stand up to this, nobody will. I’m prepared to stay as long as I can.”
Tony Ball, leader of the Conservative-controlled council, said on Thursday he had been made “aware that there are residents who want to leave the site and are being prevented from doing so by the barricade and the actions of the protesters”.
“I hope that there are no repeats of yesterday’s scenes of pre-meditated violence,” he added.
Resident and mother-of-four Mary Sheridan said: “I have nowhere to go, but I was scared by the violence and am worried for my children. As soon as the gate opens I want to leave.”
Kathleen McCarthy, another resident, said: “We have been terrified by the level of violence and this was never the plan.
“We don’t want to give up and I plan to lock my daughter in our caravan to resist bailiffs.”
Supt Trevor Roe, of Essex Police, said their tactic had been “to take early control of the site”.
Police said they had received reports that bottles, liquids and bricks had been stockpiled and this was a threat to the public, including bailiffs and council workers.
Yesterday, two caravans were set alight as police and protesters clashed over several hours.
Cherry-picking machines were used to remove protesters who had climbed and chained themselves to the upper levels of the scaffolding.
Travellers have lived on 49 plots at Dale Farm illegally since 2001, but are being evicted after legal battle drawn out over 10 years.
Ball condemned the “utterly disgraceful scenes” which he said showed that “some so-called supporters were always intent on violence”.
Police have been accused of being heavy-handed in the eviction.
McCarthy said: “The memory of Dale Farm will weigh heavily on Britain for generations – we are being dragged out of the only homes we have in this world.”
Basildon Council and “politicians in government” had ripped apart their entire community, she said.
Conservative MP for Basildon and Billericay John Baron said police had been right to take control of the site’s clearance.
“The police have been restrained but, at the end of the day, the police have got to defend themselves to ensure there is no violence,” he said.
Labour MEP Richard Howitt, who stands against the eviction, was ejected from the site on Wednesday amid claims that he had failed to give sufficient notice of his intention to go on to the land.
He said on Twitter he was shaken at his treatment saying he had been given police permission and a “council officer’s promise”.
The cost of the legal action and the operation to clear the site is expected to reach £18m.