DPAC video of protests

December 15, 2010

Hope you like it. Its not definitive – if I have time I will try to improve on it.

Thank you to Captain Ska for letting us use “Liar Liar” and photographers for the photos: Alison Wilde, Lynn Harrison, Debbie Jolly, Mikael Barnard and others. Thank you everyone for being there.

Part of the disabled people’s bloc which lead the protests at the Conservative Party Conference, Claire from WinVisible talks about the effect of cuts to public services on disabled people

http://www.radio4all.net/index.php/program/46147
http://www.radio4all.net/index.php/program/46150

disabled people march

disabled people march (photo by Dave Swinnerton)

Disabled people led the protest on October 3rd against the Tory cuts. The demonstration was backed by three trade unions – the PCS, NUJ and UCU – as well as local trades bodies and other groups, and  organised by the Right to Work Campaign.

So it was pouring with rain and the main march, which started at the Lionel Street car park, was said to be 1.6 miles but that did not deter some disabled people. Some of us, Debbie Jolly, Pete Millington and others, waited at Chamberlain Sq to join later. Some of us were driven by adrenaline alone.

But there were many protestors, non disabled and disabled, students, trade unionists, the Green Party – we were not on our own – and they came from all over the country. We had disabled people from as far as Dundee – thank you for joining us Susan Archibald and from London, thank you ALFIE, from Manchester etc and we had messages from disabled people, locally and overseas, who could joined us virtuallyEuropean and virtual support from almost 100 people and including DPO support from Slovenia, France, Bulgaria, Latvia, Germany plus support from the U.S and Malaysia.

There were some rousing speeches and Linda Burnip eloquently spoke on our behalf before setting off. There were many stewards and police lined the route.

We were at the head of the march, some 150+ of us and some of the time, we had to stop to wait for the others and this means it looks like we were segregated from the other protestors, there were some complaints. We were well covered by the Guardian -

The protest comprised trade unions demonstrating against the prospect of job losses and cuts to public services, and disabled people rallying against welfare cuts proposed by the coalition, which they say will hit them hardest.

The prospect of activists covered in fake blood wearing triangles symbolizing the murder of thousands of disabled people during the Holocaust will be an embarrassment to Cameron, who has repeatedly insisted that the most vulnerable will be protected from the impact of cuts.

Disabled protesters say they will be “processed” by a private company that will earn “millions” from medical assessments which begin next March. They are also angry that benefits that reflect the extra costs incurred by people with disabilities are to be reassessed, which they say will push people to levels of destitution and deny them the right to independent living.

The accumulation of housing benefit cuts, the closure of the independent living fund, and VAT rises will exacerbate a situation for a section of society which already sees three quarters living in poverty, they say, with many of their peers having taken their lives in desperation.

Debbie Jolly of Leicester, said: “Coalition ministers can manage on £145,000 per year plus expenses, but some disabled people have to try and manager on less than £31 a week. This is the starting point for the so-called ‘fair’ cuts coalition? Disabled people will gather to protest at the attacks on them, their human rights, and their living conditions.

“We will gather to protest and to represent those who are no longer with us; those who have died because of previous ‘care cuts’ and those who through this new cuts coalition attack have taken their own lives as the only way to cope. The term ‘cuts kill’ is a reality.”

Read the rest at:

http://www.guardian.co.uk/politics/2010/oct/03/lady-warsi-conservative-grassroots

Photos are at http://www.flickr.com/photos/54476234@N02 and http://www.flickr.com/photos/54520312@N02/sets/72157624967765979/

two short clips on youtube -

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gkEoE3uPzrk – build a bonfire

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j0ai1tkZjnk – they say cutback, we say fight back

David, how come you keep your hands so clean?!

David, how come you keep your hands so clean?!

Sunday, October 3rd

Birmingham

Meeting points- various

Meet up around 11.30 am at Chamberlain Square

Main Rally starts at Lionel Street car park ( A on map)from 12 – 1 p.m. This is where the main speakers will be.

Anyone who finds this too far should go to Chamberlain Square ( B on map) from 11.30 am onwards. We will probably be leaving there to meet up with the rest of the march around 1.15 pm. People can either just go to top of Broad Street and back or join onto the end of the main march for as long as they want to then return to Chamberlain Square. ( maps of both routes attached)

As you may know West Midlands police originally agreed that the march could go down Broad Street right past the conference but then Tory controlled Birmingham City Council refused to allow this. Following a further 2 lengthy meetings with the police and Birmingham City Council last week we are, we think, we hope now in a position to give you all the final details of the forthcoming rally and march to protest against

CUTS THAT WILL KILL

We are still very unhappy with the only main rallying point other than one outside of the centre altogether, that the police and Birmingham City Council would agree to although they have also agreed to disabled people having a second rallying point as well.

The Coach drop off point will now be Constitution Hill and the rally will be held at Lionel Street car park, off Great Charlotte Street Queensway. –   Time 12- 1 p.m.

The main march will then proceed down Lionel Street.

From the end of Lionel Street the march will go under an underpass ( no steeper than normal underpasses) onto Paradise Circus and then across the top of Broad Street where the Tory party conference is being held.

It will then proceed onto Suffolk Street Queensway and down a steep underpass onto Holliday Street and up Gas Street back onto Broad Street at the other end of the conference.

The march will then go onto Broad Street heading away from the conference. It is hoped that there can be a ‘closing’ street rally at this point but the police and council have not yet agreed to this.

The other groups of protestors will also be going to the Walkabout Inn on Broad Street so anyone who wants to can talk to the speakers who have come over from Greece and Portugal. This is fully accessible.

From Chamberlain Square we plan to end up in Weatherspoons in Paradise Forum which is also fully accessible.

Finally anyone travelling by coach will eventually be herded off to Five Ways to board their coaches from 15.30- 17.00 hours.

The main march route is 1.6 miles. The police and council were hoping to get the protest march around it in half an hour.(!!) but this is now timed to take from 1 pm-3pm.

Alternate more accessible route

We will meet as arranged originally in Chamberlain Square at 11.30 am onwards or for those who feel able or come by coach at Lionel Street car park rally point for 12.

The route available for those  who do not want to take part in the main march will be from Chamberlain Square through Paradise Forum and onto Paradise Circus at the top of Broad Street where we can join the end of the main march for as long as wanted and then return to Chamberlain Square to take part in a die-in.

Anyone who needs to drop out along the route at any point should return to Chamberlain Square for the die-in.
The ICC where conference will be


–  surrounded by steel fences and during the march Broad Street will

-  have 3 sets of barriers at both ends of the part that is being used for conference, a vehicle barrier, steel plate barrier and police officer barrier. However there will still be at police discretion pedestrian access into this part of Broad Street and Centenary Square.

(Anyone would think they were scared of us )
Die-in Chamberlain Square

We would like to try to keep the die-in in Chamberlain Square going for as long as possible and think this fits in with what the police have described a static protest. It is hard to say exactly when this will finish as that to some extent will depend on timings of main march but we will aim to end it by 4 p.m. at the latest.

The march itself
It has been agreed that disabled people can lead the march and also that we will be at the end as well. Although this will split us as a group for a while leading the march should allow us to get high profile publicity for our particular grievances and being at the end means people can join the end of the march from a much shorter route directly from Chamberlain Square and that there will not be any problems if anyone needs to drop out and return to Chamberlain Square due to fatigue or limited mobility.

Update on accessible parking and loos ( maps attached)

There will be no parking available in Lionel Street car park, or Cambridge Street and Brindley Drive car parks.

No on street parking in Lionel Street.

As far as we know all other parking will be available.

Loos

There will be no access to any loos in ICC or NIA or Repertory Theatre. There is a further but small accessible loo in Starbucks on New Street, in the left corner at the back.

The main protest organisers had planned to provide a an accessible mini-bus to help to get people back from Broad Street to stations but would like to apologise as they may not now have any money to do this since Birmingham City Council keep demanding more and more money from them for things like closing off the parking bays all weekend.

What we need

15-20 people with mixed impairments to head the march- if anyone is willing to do this please let me know.

ONLY DISABLED PEOPLE AND PAs FOR THIS PLEASE

linda_burnip@yahoo.co.uk ( underscore between Linda and Burnip)

0771 492 7533          0771 492 7533     or 01926 842253

A megaphone or portable, non-electric microphone ( ie one that doesn’t need mains electric)

If you want to please bring

Striped pyjamas

A black triangle badge

Placards – saying what you want but some suggestions are

CUTS KILL

LIFE NOT DEATH

RIGHTS NOT CHARITY
HANDS OFF DISABLED PEOPLE

Banners

Fake blood

What we will have available

Black triangles

Placards ( limited quantity)

Banners ( limited quantity)

Fake blood

We will have these available at both Lionel Street car park and in Chamberlain Square to be collected.

I am pleased to say the Chief Inspector of West Midlands Police is very keen to make sure that we are facilitated to protest following a large number of complaints he had received from our DPOs.

Telephone numbers for the day

Eleanor – 0773 7480378

Linda   – 0771 492 7533

Debbie – 07946 140765

Tina     – 07814 775960

Before you  leave

If you are taking part in this protest and we do not already have your contact details please leave these with us for any future events or email/ phone them to us afterwards

We would like to ask Mike Whitby, Tory leader of Birmingham City Council why they were willing to pay £80,000 for the Pope’s vist to Birmingham but will not forgo charging organisers ( Right to Work) £2,500 to suspend the parking bays along the route.

Leader of Birmingham City Council – Mike Whitby mike.whitby@birmingham.gov.uk

Copy to Albert Bore, Labour leader – albert.bore@birmingham.gov.uk

An example here for you to copy and paste and send from your email account -

To Birmingham City Council

Dear Mr Whitby,

We would like to ask if you could waive fee for the organisers ( Right to Work) £2,500 to suspend the parking bays along the protest route to the Tory National Conference at the ICC .

We understand that £80,000 was used for the Pope’s visit to Birmingham – congratulations for a successful visit but £2500 is not much compared to that sum – especially when the organisers, including disabled people, cannot afford that.

best wishes,

your name

your email

Protest at Tory Party Conference update

We have amended our original leaflets which are attached to advise people to meet at Chamberlain Square since following a lengthy meeting with the police last week we are still not in any position to arrange anything beyond that. Originally the police had agreed that we could rally at and march past the conference centre.

We are now being refused permission to march past the Tory Conference by the Tory controlled Birmingham City council and West Midlands police. Last week we were told that the march would have to start from outside the city centre and would take some obscure route through a suburb of the city. It would have been impossible for disabled people to get to this.

There was a suggestion from one of the council’s employees there that we could travel via an inaccessible rail station, obviously also ignoring the fact that anyone who needs assistance to travel by train has to book at least 24 hours in advance and only one wheelchair per train is allowed even if the train is accessible .

We then managed to get agreement that the route would be based in the centre and that we would be assembling at Chamberlain Square. Other than this after 2 hours we were no further forward.

We have a legal, democratic right to protest against these cuts which we know have already resulted in the deaths of a number of disabled people and which if not stopped will lead to further deaths. We want to be able to exercise our rights and disabled people from all over the UK are planning to attend this march.

If we are prevented from protesting outside the conference this will deny us of our rights under the UNCRPD article 29 – Participation in political and public life “ States parties shall guarantee to persons with disabilities political rights and the opportunity to enjoy them on an equal basis with others…” and article 5 – Equality and non-discrimination “states parties recognize that all persons are equal before and under the law and are entitled without any discrimination to equal protection and equal benefit of the law.”

We are asking individual disabled people and especially our DPOs to email to insist that we are allowed to rally and march past the Tory Party Conference on October 3rd.

Leader of Birmingham City Council – Mike Whitby -mike.Whitby@birmingham.gov.uk

Copy to cabinet member for Equalities and HR – Alan Rudge – alan.rudge@birmingham.gov.uk

West Midlands police- for attention of Inspector Matt Ward

contactus@westmidlands.pnn.police.co.uk

or directly onto internet form at

http://www.west-midlands.police.uk/contact-us/email-us/index.asp

You may also want to ask our Lords and Ladies to support us and if so

email

Baroness Jane Campbell – campbelljs@parliament.uk

Baroness Rosalie Wilkins – wilkinsrc@parliament.uk

Baroness Grey-Thompson – greythompson@parliament.uk

Lords Morris and Rix have no email contact details but can be written to at

House of Lords. London, SW1A 0PW

The road past the conference centre and into Centenary Square will not be totally sealed off and there will be footpath access anyhow for the general public.

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