Disabled people across the UK are being urged to take part in a series of protests across the country against cuts to services and benefits.
The local and regional protests will take place this autumn as a follow-up to May’s hugely successful national Hardest Hit protest in London.
The UK Disabled People’s Council (UKDPC) is again working with members of the Disability Benefits Consortium to organise the follow-up protests, which will take place on 21 and 22 October.
UKDPC hopes many of the protests will be led by disabled people’s organisations (DPOs).
On Friday 21 October, the aim is for disabled people and other activists to lobby MPs at their weekly constituency surgeries. The following day, there will be marches, demonstrations and other protests across the UK.
The Hardest Hit protest on 11 May saw thousands of disabled people march through the streets of Westminster in protest at the government’s cuts to disability benefits, its welfare reforms and cuts to services for disabled people. Some estimates put the number of people who took part at more than 10,000.
Jaspal Dhani, UKDPC’s chief executive, said his organisation was encouraging DPOs to join forces with local branches of disability charities or coordinate protests of their own. UKDPC will be producing information to help DPOs organise their own campaigns.
UKDPC has already heard from 20 DPOs that are interested in taking part in the protests, including organisations in Wales and Northern Ireland.
Dhani said: “We would like this to happen across the UK. It will be an opportunity for disabled people and organisations to be much more focused on issues that they feel are of importance to them at a local level. At the same time, we want it to echo the messages to government as well.”
Julie Newman, UKDPC’s acting chair, added: “The idea is to bring the protests to the local authorities. Although central government is cutting funding, local authorities are making the choices about where they make the cuts.”
Dhani is also keen for anti-cuts groups like Disabled People Against Cuts to be involved in the protests, possibly by organising their own events on 21 and 22 October.
27 July 2011