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Ramping up the pressure

Disability Action outside Parliament

Traffic was brought to a standstill for over two hours outside the Houses of Parliament On Wednesday (20th), when two buses were blocked and occupied by accessible transport protesters.. The action happened spontaneously, on the premise of, as some of them put it “if you can't get on the bus, get in front of it”. Rosa Parks eat your heart out.

The disability rights campaigners had just left a 'Right to Ride' lobbying meeting to argue their case for the right to use public transport, just like anyone else, with MPs. As hundreds were lining up to get a bus to the next stop on the day's itinerary, their point was proved after when the central London number 87 bus illegally refused to let them board.

The action harks back to the days of disabled people's militant actions in the nineties, when bus lock-ons coordinated by disability group DAN (Direct Action Network) won some accessible transport rights. Directness and efficiency has come to characterise the disability rights movement, which epitomises the 'get angry – get organised' mantra. Many of the advances made in the last wave of the disability movement – greater independence, inclusion and recognition – are being destroyed by the ConDem's viscous welfare cuts agenda.

Since the last blockade by disabled activists of Oxford Circus, the government have been continuing their attack on the disabled population. Freedom of Information requests have found out that well over a thousand people died after being told they had to get a job or lose their benefits. Horror stories of people committing suicide due to the stress of financial hardship and lack of care that the cuts had forced on them just keep coming up. It's not case of changes in lifestyle, but for many people a literal matter of life and death.

And the bulk of the cuts, including the change next year from Disability Living Allowance to 'Personal Independence Payment', during which, like the Atos débâcle, more people will have their money cut off at the whim of private assessment companies (G4S are trying to get their sweaty, evil hands on the contracts), are yet to come.

Luckily, the likes of DPAC (Disabled People Against Cuts) and the Black Triangle Campaign are going to carry on fighting back. See www.dpac.uk.net, www.blacktrianglecampaign.org.

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Twitter: @SchNEWS