Busy protest days: the right to protest

November 25, 2010

Nick Clegg effigy

Nick Clegg effigy

23rd Nov

DPAC was at York Way to picket Nick Clegg on 23rd November. We were there as part of the Right to Work Campaign.

There was a good number of people and we kept up chants such as “Shame on you for turning blue”.

An effigy of Clegg was hung up.

Nick Clegg went in at a side entrance and there was a good show of police but nothing compared to the student’s protest day.

Video from the Nick Clegg picket from the Guardian http://www.guardian.co.uk/politics/video/2010/nov/23/cuts-protest-nick-clegg and more photos at http://www.flickr.com/photos/disabledpeopleprotest/sets/72157625456762536/

24th Nov

Linda and Paul outside Downing Street

Linda and Paul outside Downing Street

A few DPAC members made it to the students protest – as a wheelchair user, I wasn’t ‘advised’ by the police to go beyond the horse guard cordon, I didn’t think it would be advisable either so there was another young male student with his PA, we stayed near Downing Street. I waited for Linda and Paul to come find me and meantime I had a little interview with a journalist from The Militant as to why we were there. I said the cuts affected all of us – we shouldn’t think in silos. Reflecting on it, I should have ask that young wheelchair student how it affected him.

Are disabled students any different from those able bodied students – should he be put off from protesting with his mates because he was a wheelchair user?

The media pictures are focused on those few incidents but even though I was not in the ‘kettle’ it wasn’t that riotous. People were generally friendly and a man was willing to take some photos for me because he was standing on a wall!

I used to live in France where students regularly demonstrated and bus shelters get burnt etc and I remember taking part in one against the far right demonstration, it was slightly edgy but I was not stopped from participating. At a meeting with organisers and police at the 3rd Oct protest in Birmingham, there was a question by an anxious policeman – what if wheelchair users had a puncture on the route???

wheelchair protestor

wheelchair protestor

More photos at the flickr site

5 Responses to “Busy protest days: the right to protest”

  1. LInda Burnip Says:

    well the Condems have promised to protect ‘the vulnerable’ as they aren’t in any other way and care and benefits are being slashed all over so this must be what they meant. We should be able to assess the risk and decide for ourselves what we want to do and what risks we want to take.

    When Paul and I couldn’t join in the protest we went with some students to see what was happening around Lib Dem Head office, needless to say we couldn’t get near but how can any government that has to barricade itself behind a massive cordon of police vehicles claim to have any legitimacy? Time to pack your bags and go Cameron and Clegg clones I think

  2. Frankie Green Says:

    Linda Burnip’s letter in the Guardian today (27 Nov) drew attention to how the police prevented her and other disabled activists from joining the demo – outrageous. Yet how about today’s London conference against the cuts – workshops up two flights of stairs, including the women’s meeting!? So much for a ‘coalition of resistance’!

  3. I couldnt access the workshop I wanted to go to neither. I made a complaint to some of the people there – their response was that they did not expect such a big response and that they had to spill into the next building – the school which had no lifts. They said they would take more care for the next conference and I gave them my contact details so that they would have consult about access for the next meeting.

    • Frankie Green Says:

      Let us hope they do do better next time. However, their excuse that more people turned up than expected is unacceptable – whatever the numbers attending an event, there should be by now, after decades of disability rights activism, awareness built into people’s political consciousness of how to organise in non-discriminatory ways. To book inaccessible venues is to exclude people. It sends the same callous message as the ConDems: you don’t matter. And then it turns out yet again disabled people have to be consultants and educate others!

  4. […] not always picked up by the press and we were not allowed to be part of the protest (read previous blog ) because we are disabled and seen to be ‘vulnerable’.  And we have to point out that […]

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