The government is sneaking out its agenda of cultural genocide and mass criminalisation of Romani people and Travellers.

“The Tory government’s plan to make trespass a criminal offence is part of a centuries-old tradition: using the law to protect wealthy landowners at the expense of our right to roam.”

The government is sneaking out its agenda of cultural genocide and mass criminalisation of Romani people and Travellers.

Criminalising entire ethnic groups and taking their homes away is genocide, plain and simple. To take away a group’s traditional means of living, to force them into situations that you then make illegal, to force GRT people into homelessness and imprisonment, is an act of genocide. It is frankly disgusting that such horrific things are being openly planned yet barely anyone in the media (aside from the odd George Monbiot article) or Parliament will challenge them.

It don’t just affect GRT people either, it has a massive effect on squatters, ramblers, anyone who has an eviction dispute with their landlord, people who accidentally wonder onto private land without realising (which will have been most of us at some point), under this new proposed law you will become a criminal if you ever set foot on private land without permission, regardless of if you know or not.

There is a reason trespass has been a civil rather than a criminal matter in English law since time immemorial: it’s the only sensible way to approach the issue. It’s the only humane way to deal with such disputes.

Criminalising GRT people is inhumane and abhorrent.

Even the police, when internally polled on the measures when they were first proposed, said they weren’t needed and that the real issue was a lack of halting site provision.

The overwhelming amount of responses to the public consultations have been against the plans. The police are against the plans (and you know something is up when the plod reject further powers to harass ethnic minorities). Yet the government ignores this. Why? They claim that 66% of local council representatives who responded to the consultations were in favour of at least one of the measures. Not all. Just 1. It’d be interesting to see how many of that 66% were representatives of Conservative boroughs.

If someone says they have a right to be somewhere, and someone else says they own that somewhere and they do not give permission, that is a civil matter concerning ownership and usage rights, not a criminal matter… the Government wishes to do away with that, in favour of the rich and powerful landowners that make up a huge amount of Government MPs, donors, and Lords.

It’s a landlords charter

Text by AJ Qereçî of Travellers Against Fascism

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