Exclusive interview with Jolene Connors, a young pregnant Traveller mother of a five year old child, who was one of the victims of a mob of 200 people who descended on their caravans screaming: “Hitler had the right idea to put them all in the oven”.
“I’ve travelled most of my life but this year has been the worst for racism,” says Jolene Connors, who witnessed the “vigilante mob attack” on their caravans, camped on a recreation field in Weston, West Midlands, on August 20th.
“We’ve always had ‘Pikey’ ‘Dirty Gypsy’ but never did I hear ‘Hitler had the right idea to put them all in the oven’. I know what people can be like but this even shocked me that it was allowed to be said in front of policemen,” she adds.
The Travellers’ Times watched the vigilante mob being organised on Facebook along with Report Racism GRT, and both organisations where shocked to see pictures of burning caravans and lots of racist abuse being posted by people who were planning to go.
About 200 local settled residents turned up and Police formed a barrier between the Traveller camp as residents chanted, “off, off, off”, but despite their efforts to keep the mob back, two protestors got through into the camp attacking two of the Traveller men, says Jolene Connors.
“They did try to keep the protestors back but a couple got loose and hit two of our men, they hit back and the police dogs stopped it. It was supposed to be a peaceful protest but it was far from peaceful,” she said.
Other shouts from the mob included, “your children are retarded and dumb”, says Jolene Connors.
“We kept the kids in to stop them from getting hurt, but they still witnessed it. My girl was being sick all night as we were getting pushed out of the area,” she said.