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The eviction campaign appears to have wide public support in the area. Local newspaper letter pages and Internet forums are largely hostile, with many commentators using terms like “pikey” and “tinker” to describe the group.

The site has few immediate neighbors, but Len Gridley, whose house backs onto Dale Farm, has said the Travelers have made his life “hell” for a decade. Last month, he was arrested after trying to set fire to a fence.

Traveler evictions are relatively common across Britain — but few are as large, or as high profile, as that at Dale Farm.

Academy Award-winning actress Vanessa Redgrave has come to the community’s support, and the U.N. Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination urged authorities “to find a peaceful and appropriate solution” to the crisis.

Yves Cabannes, a U.N. adviser on forced evictions, said last week that Britain is violating international laws by ousting the Travelers.

Tucked into the Essex countryside east of London, Dale Farm is a straggling 6-acre village of shiny trailers, and some larger permanent-looking homes, set along narrow lanes.

Most of the residents have been here for years. They have electricity, running water and garbage collection. Their children attend the local school, which will lose dozens of pupils to the ouster.

With eviction looming, it is a busy place. Children play, climb trees and ride bikes — their parents are keeping them home in case the bailiffs arrive suddenly. Parents drink tea and smoke and worry about the future.

The local council has urged residents to leave peacefully before Monday, but is preparing to remove them against their will before towing away mobile homes, digging up asphalt and tearing down outbuildings. It estimates the cost of the operation at $13 million.

“After 10 years, when we have exhausted the judicial process and made every effort to negotiate, we have no option but to resort to direct action to clear the site,” council leader Tony Ball said in a statement.

Last week, workmen in hard hats — backed up by private security guards — were laying a temporary road through a nearby field, surrounded by a high gray metal fence. A handful of protesters implored them to put down tools, join the resistance and have a cup of tea.

The protesters are among about 50 activists — anarchists, anti-capitalists, anti-racists and human rights monitors — who have set up a supporters’ camp at the site. They have erected a lookout tower, assembled tires to make barricades and say they will resist, physically but nonviolently.

“We are not here for a fight,” said Jake Fulton, one of the activists. “We are here to prevent these evictions.”