Communities unite in Drive to Survive

July 23, 2021

On the 7th of July, London Gypsies and Travellers joined Gypsy, Roma, Traveller people, politicians and allies from other movements in Parliament Square to resist the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill. The peaceful demonstration was organised by Drive2Survive, a community-led coalition mobilising against the discriminatory measures of the Bill. The demo was the first in a series of community action events taking place this year.

Part 4 of the Police Bill introduces a new criminal offence for stopping over on land without consent, punishable with a fine, up to three months in prison and seizing caravans and other property. Due to the severe shortage of transit sites and stopping places across the country, the new legislation will have harmful impacts on Gypsy, Traveller and other nomadic communities who have no choice but to stop roadside. The provisions of the Bill are highly open to interpretation and abuse, as anyone deemed likely to cause damage or distress when stopping on a piece of land would be committing the new offence.

In a powerful speech at the Drive2Survive rally, Marian Mahoney, Vice Chair of LGT’s Board of Trustees, said: ‘Travellers are an ethnic minority. Our way of life goes back hundreds of years, not days, years. We don’t want to trespass but there is nowhere to go. Councils are letting us down, they’re not providing the sites and stopping places to accommodate our culture. We want to live alongside other communities and contribute to the areas where we stop.’

Addressing the politicians in Westminster, Marian invited them to have a dialogue with Gypsy and Traveller people: ‘Come out and talk to us, get to know us. We have so much to offer and you are missing out on so much that we can contribute to society.’

The Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill will be passing through the House of Lords starting in September. This will be an opportunity for House of Lords members to further debate the Bill and put forward changes.

To find out more about the Drive2Survive campaign and future events, visit their website https://www.drive2survive.org.uk/

More news

Shaping futures in metal

April 21, 2022

Four young men created beautiful metal objects during a metalwork course organised by LGT and facilitated by acclaimed metalworker Flee Jones. “I absolutely loved it,” said Jason, one of the participants. “They were so nice and made everything sound so easy. I loved being able to make things and be able to say: I made …

Women speak out on domestic abuse

April 13, 2022

Gypsy and Traveller women with experience of domestic abuse and discrimination at the hands of social services talked about their experiences at a workshop organised by London Gypsies and Travellers in partnership with the Traveller Movement at the end of February. The event, held at the LGT office, was part of a series of workshops …

LGT launches election pledge

April 6, 2022

In the run up to the London local council elections on May 5th, London Gypsies and Travellers has launched a campaign asking candidates to take a stand against the racism and discrimination that Gypsy, Roma and Traveller communities continue to face. Gypsy, Roma and Traveller communities are affected by some of the highest levels or …