Dale Farm protesters target Pickles

Protesters tried to storm a Government department on Friday to mark the first anniversary of the clearance of Europe's largest traveller site.

About 100 people still angered by the eviction of travellers from Dale Farm in Crays Hill, Essex, a year ago staged a demonstration outside the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) offices in central London.

Some demonstrators attempted to gain entry into the building to "evict" the department's secretary Eric Pickles but were restrained on the ground by police.

Eight demonstrators scaled scaffolding outside the building with a banner reading: "Fight for sites."

A caged security fence was positioned in front of one entrance to the DCLG headquarters to prevent protesters storming the building. Officers then formed a line across the main entrance to prevent any intruders.

The protest marked one year since the violent scenes during the £7 million clearance of Dale Farm as travellers and protesters clashed with bailiffs and police.

Demonstrator Ali Saunders said the protest group included a number of travellers who were evicted from Dale Farm.

She said: "We came here in order to try and evict the racist state. One thing we're trying to do is get across travellers' voices. We're experiencing an increase in racism against travellers, both in terms of person and policy."

Scuffles broke about between demonstrators and officers during the protest. Two police dogs were taken to the scene as officers sought to prevent intruders entering the Government building.

Protesters' chants rang out including: "One, two, three, four, Eric Pickles out the door, five, six, seven, eight, let's evict the racist state."