Socialist Worker

Disability campaigners sit in at Westminster Abbey

by Tomáš Tengely-Evans
Issue No. 2410

Disability campaigners occupy Westminster Abbey against cuts

Disability campaigners occupy Westminster Abbey against cuts (Pic: Socialist Worker)

Some 75 people occupied Westminster Abbey grounds in central London last Saturday, in protest against Tory plans to scrap the Independent Living Fund (ILF) disability benefit.

The protest was supported by Disabled People Against the Cuts (Dpac), UK Uncut and Occupy London.

Campaigners were outraged at the cops, who arrested two people and tried to repeatedly evict the camp. 

Dpac activist, Paula, said “When they tried to move us, a police officer fell onto one of our members. The police presence is totally ridiculous”.

Campaigners chained themselves to the abbey gates, and then set up camp in the grounds.

Sue, an ILF user, said, “ILF is what enables us to participate in the community, to be in education and in work.

“We won a court case against the government, but they’re trying to push through the changes anyway.”

Robert from Birmingham added, “The Tories say that they’ll transfer us to local authority care schemes.

“But we know that the funding won’t be ring fenced—and it will only provide for our basic care needs, not our social needs.

“That’s why we’re here today. The only thing we’ve got left is to come out an protest”.

The group liaised with the dean of Westminster Abbey, who said that the occupation was “unacceptable”. 

Following repeated attempts by the cops to evict the camp, the occupation decided to march out together.

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