GYPSIES from all over England met in Fenstanton to form an organisation to fight for their "basic human rights" - a place to live and education for their children.
Chairman of the as yet unnamed umbrella organisation is Cliff Codona, founder of the National Travellers Action Group.
Mr Codona hit the headlines earlier this year when he teamed up with Robert Kilroy-Silk, the former UKIP member and television presenter. Mr Kilroy-Silk spent a week with a family of Romany gypsies for a Channel 4 documentary.
Representatives of a dozen groups decided to set up a permanent umbrella organisation. It has close links with the residents of Smithy Fen site in Cottenham and aims to spearhead the campaign against a "dangerous tide of anti-Gypsy racism" in the UK.
As a first step, the meeting elected delegates to the new European Roma and Travellers Forum (ERTF).
Mr Codona said: "Those living under this threat are best qualified to speak for their communities.
"Our voices will now be heard."
He told the meeting he had recently been thrown off his own land because of anti-Gypsy prejudice.
Kay Beard, of the UK Association of Gypsy Women, was elected with Mr Codona as a primary delegate to the ERTF, along with six deputy delegates.
She condemned the Government for years of "lip-service" to travellers' rights, saying: "They listen to us but so far have taken no notice."
She said lack of Government action had precipitated a worse crisis, with caravan parks and private yards being closed and more families pitched back on the road every day. She had gone to the Council of Europe to complain.
Speaking for Dale Farm, the settlement of travellers at Basildon threatened by a £3 million demolition operation, Richard Sheridan said one effective way to put pressure on councils and the Government was through Strasbourg.
He said: "We're not getting respect and we're certainly not getting even basic rights."
The new organisation will meet before the first session of the ERTF in Strasbourg during December.
Oh great! Another organizations that can create gabfests and join the others in theirs. Are we going to see anything done? Even with Cliff Cordona, I am afraid, I don't think so. Romanichals that involve themselves with the illegal Irish Traveller encampment of Dale Farm are not doing the Romani-Gypsies of the UK any service whatsoever. It is rather a disservice for, while all eyes are upon the Irish Travellers on Dale Farm no one sees the Romanichals who are being evicted on a daily basis from their own pieces of land and no one says kek. Nor does anyone say a word when it comes to the way that Romanichals are pushed off their pitches on permanent sites by armed Traveller scum. Those Romani who put the Irish Traveller issue before the issues affecting Romani-Gypsies in the UK (and elsewhere) are traitors to our Race.