Disabled activists occupy parliament

IssueJune - July 2018
News by David Polden

Disabled People Against Cuts (DPAC) occupied the central lobby of the Westminster parliament in London just before midday on 18 April. DPAC taped out a ‘crime scene’ with the outline of a ‘murder victim’ laid on the floor. They demanded the scrapping of Universal Credit, a working-age benefit. DPAC claim it produces ‘crimes against claimants’, including 160,000 children losing free school meals and the increased use of foodbanks in areas where it’s been introduced.

After the protesters’ path to the house of commons chamber was blocked by five police officers, they repeatedly chanted ‘Stop and scrap Universal Credit!’ and ‘Benefits not bombs!’, as prime minister’s question time was taking place.

DPAC then moved outside to Parliament Square where around 80 people, including some in wheelchairs, blocked the pedestrian crossing next to parliament, stopping traffic in both directions. The ‘murder victim’ was again laid down and chants of ‘Benefits not bombs!’ and ‘Scrap Universal Credit!’ rang out. After about half an hour, police started threatening protesters with arrest but they continued blocking the road till 2pm and left voluntarily.