A lot more to video to come – here’s a starter.
Went with Disabled People Against Cuts to the blockade of Westminster Abbey today as severely disabled people continued ther fight to save the Independent Living Fund. The ILF is a fund that severely disabled people to pay for the extra carer hours they need to live independent lives. Iain Duncan Smith, needless to say, plans to close the fund and leave these people in carehomes, or stuck at home with dangerously low levels of care. The court of appeal overturned a government closure decision last year, but the government announced this year that it would close the fund by 2015
Disabled people continue to fight for the ILF through the courts. Today, they attempted to set up a camp in the grounds of Westminer Abbey. The hope was that the church of England would see the point of this extremely serious and important protest, and help facilitate a protest camp and discussion. The lives of these disabled people will be threatened without that ILF money. It’s as simple as that.
Unfortunately, the church seemed to miss that point – perhaps in its rush to get the Met on the line. Christianity was in very short supply today. Police poured through the gates to stop the protest and to stamp on tents, to make sure they couldn’t be pitched. They were very heavy-handed all round and must easily have outnumbered protestors ten to one. Have a look at some of this.
Here’s a short clip of the police chasing one protestor across the grounds, then grabbing one young woman and cuffing her after shoving her against a tree. This was pretty brutal – you’ll see towards the end of the clip that they twist her arm right up behind her:
Here they are standing on a tent so that disabled people couldn’t pitch the tent in the Abbey grounds to make their protest:
This next photo shows disabled people grabbing onto each other when police rushed their line of wheelchairs. This was extraordinary – the police just raced at the line of wheelchairs:
another cop standing on a tent:
In this video, you’ll see some of the severely disabled people who had their wheelchairs chained together to protest at the ILF’s closure – and then a short clip of the sort of police numbers sent in to deal with them. Unreal:
And in this video, disabled protestors getting into the grounds through a smaller gate and chaining their wheelchairs together:
More to come tomorrow. As I say – this is a vital protest. Saving the ILF is not just about saving a pot of money. It’s about saving the idea that severely disabled people deserve to live – like everybody else. Pity the church doesn’t get that. At all. Today’s display was utterly shameful. Those behind it would do well to get up nice and early tomorrow and start praying hard that there isn’t a god.