Friday, 25 March 2016

An account of the Westminster Lobby Protest on 23rd March by Paula Peters


Would like to add some things from yesterday’s action of parliament by disabled people and their supporters yesterday.

The first one is this: Yesterday action was not a rally, it was not a protest. It was an occupation a direct action, an act of civil disobedience in direct defiance of the way the conservative government are treating disabled people and denying them their basic human rights.

Second one: We meet at 10 am. Parliament denied disabled people access into the building for 1 hour 30 minutes until 11.30 am 30 minutes before PMQs began. It is a public building and there is a cafe and access to a toilet and a place to keep warm. A public building. Disabled people and its supporters were denied access to this space.
Point out some of us got around this by pointing out its a public building you all work for us, and we are going to use the toilet and have a hot drink and take medication, and if you deny us access we will make such a stink in the media about it about blatant discrimination against disabled people.

That is how Martin Tolley and Peirs got into the building yesterday….they tried to stop us we pointed out access issues and went in. However, it is important to stress, many were left out in the cold, on the street for 1hr 30 minutes and a mass protest and shouts of let us in let us in which we have footage of could be heard….it caused a lot of anger yesterday.

Third: Many Twitter accounts and Facebook account users struggled to share pictures of our protests etc yesterday. Including all of us in parliament who had a hell of a job getting the word out. So keep sharing pictures today and re sharing

Fourth: There were many activists from all groups who joined us in solidarity and support yesterday and I would like them to be acknowledged for the work they do, the support they give because without them we could not have pulled yesterday off.

They are as follows: Occupy London,WinvisibleGlobal Women’s Strike,Women of ColourBoycott Workfare,Unite Community ActivistsFree Psychology Network/Alliance, Bob Williams Findlay who travelled from Birmingham, an activist who travelled from Manchester, Adrian, Martin Tolley who travelled from Suffolk to name just some of them here…..

Special thanks goes to Ali Playford who suggested yesterday’s protest to DPAC and did the lion’s share of the organising of it.

Fifth: An activist tipped off the BBC while in parliament what we were doing, they filmed immediately and wanted to parliament staff stopped them…the government stopped the BBC from filming that is the truth, the government stopped them. 
However, the BBC were also outside parliament yesterday and filmed us coming out of parliament and interviewed Claire from Winvisible and me. So did sky news, ITV etc. It must be pointed out we had journalists inside from Morning Star, Guardian, Steve Topple who came from Suffolk to join us and they filmed us and interviewed us and took pictures and defied the government to get the truth out there.
Sixth: The first MP out to stand in solidarity was John McDonnell MP shadow chancellor who hugged me and thanked us all. All six questions at PMQs yesterday from Jeremy Corbyn were on disability, every one of them. John came out and told us that and he told us what was said we have video footage of what he said to us. He gave us solidarity and it meant a lot to us.

Paula Peters and Caroline Lucas selfie – Photo by Paula Peters
Caroline Lucas wanted pictures with us…she asked me Paula Peters to for a picture so I used my phone and took a selfie with Caroline…she did not take that picture. I did and when someone says “one of the organisers use my name.. I have one. It is Paula Peters. I am a DPAC activist. She spoke to the media, and she told us she was with us. She took some pictures.SNP Mps came out and joined us they took pictures, they filmed the occupation which we are really glad they did.

Seventh: Disabled People defied the government yesterday we took banners into parliament which is not allowed, we filmed the occuaption of parliament which was not allowed, we took photos which were not allowed. We defied them, they told us No they got an up yours in response, we were determined to get the truth out there and we did.

Eight: MPs stopped the debate for a minute or so and listened in silence to our shouts and our screams of anger. We were told by SNP Mps who joined us afterwards and Caroline Lucas and John McDonnell that they could clearly hear the shout of no more deaths from benefit cuts, the tory government has blood on its hands and cameron and osborne are murderers we want justice…they listened in silence and we were told that Osborne was white faced and trembling in his seat….they heard us plainly, loudly and the anger in our voices….all 600 MPs heard us yesterday that is really important to stress.

Nine: We were there for over an hour yesterday…we walked around the lobby we went to house of lords doors and Ali was pushed back by the police, she kept going and we backed her up we walked around the lobby in a circle and we owned that space yesterday….The police the staff just stood there incredulous but we carried on…

Ten: The house of commons chamber was shut down, the MPs had to find another way to get out of the chamber after PMQs. David Cameron and George Osborne were clearly rattled.

Eleven: We then went out of the lobby area, we walked through the doors to the corridor and retraced our steps out of the building. We all waked out together in the middle of the corridor holding our banners, shouting out no more deaths from benefit cuts, we went past the armed police, we walked through the great hall with our banners and we never stopped shouting out…Yesterday we took back parliament. Disabled people and their supporters did that. We defied every law, we defied the word NO and we told them cleary we would be back.

We walked out of parliament defiant, unrepentant, emotional and into a crowd of media who wanted to talk to us and film us which they did.

BBC interviewed Ellen Clifford from DPAC in their TV studio yesterday, and i spoke to a journalist yesterday from there who used our pictures in defiance of the government.

This is a message to David Cameron: You will not stop us you will never break us and we have so many ways to get the truth out there in all forms and we will NEVER stop defying you and resisting you until we get our full inclusive rights restored to us, until we get these cuts reversed until we put a stop to you.

As we said on the way out We will be back you know we will and the police know we will too.

Disabled people are warriors and we ain’t afraid to take this government on for the fight for our rights…Disabled people are the spearhead of resistance to this government and have been for six years and that is important to point out and the horrendous cost we have all endured in able to take this government on should never ever be ignored.

1 comment:

Anthony C. Lewis said...

I was delighted to read that you had an impact on Cameron and Osborne. Well done all.