Travellers at Dale Farm are celebrating a last-minute injunction that says no buildings are to be cleared until Friday.
After travellers spent yesterday preparing their front line and stockpiling bricks, water bombs and other for ammunition to use in the anticipated fight for the farm, a High Court order was issued to postpone their eviction.
One of the farm’s 400 residents, Cathleen McCarthy called it “a great victory”.
Tony Ball, the leader of Basildon council said: “We are clearly disappointed and extremely frustrated with today’s decision. We will be setting out our case robustly. We are confident that our original position will be upheld.”
Before the decision was made, a stand-off had developed between the travellers and enforcement officials, armed with pencils and clipboards.
Police stood out of sight, ready to support the council if they were needed.
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Tension boiled until a man from the council turned up with a megaphone, telling the travellers that they had breached healthy and safety laws by blocking the road with a barricade they’d built.
He said: “In the interests of health and safety is there anything that I can say or do that will persuade you to remove yourselves in an orderly manner?”
A water bomb and a voice shouting “Fascist!” came out of the crowd.
And that was the height of yesterday’s battle for Dale Farm.
Mr Justice Edwards-Stuart granted a High Court injunction yesterday on the basis that Basildon Council’s eviction measures “may go further” than they had originally intended.
The council must now outline exactly how it plans to evict the travellers from Dale Farm, on a step by step basis.
A further hearing will take place on Friday.