Disabled People Against Cuts (DPAC) have accused the police of unnecesary aggression at their protest yesterday at the Department of Work and Pensions. One protester was left with a fractured shoulder, another tipped from their wheelchair as police pushed through the crowd to try and stop protesters occupying the DWP building. One person was arrested for breach of the peace and obstructing police, and was later released on police bail.
The wheelchair users and other DPAC protesters had blockaded the entrance to the DWP while inside 12 activists from DPAC and UKUNCUT occupied the foyer area, and ‘locked on’ to make it difficult for them to be removed. A voluntary exit was later negotiated for the occupiers and they were permitted to leave without further action.
In a statement issued today DPAC stated that police officers behaved disproportionately, without properly assessing the circumstances or assessing the risk to wheelchair users and other disabled people.
Officers were seen psyching themselves up for trouble and although they were informed on several occasions that there were several disabled people in the crowd they approached the building and the protesters in an entirely inappropriate manner rushing forward and pushing other protesters onto the row of wheelchair users.
The wheelchair user, Patrick Lynch, hurt in the incident said, “The police officer involved was a thug and a bully, not fit to wear the uniform. If he hadn’t been in the police he would be facing charges for assault”
The Metropolitan Police stated that they had “formed a line to prevent further protestors [entering the DWP], while officers negotiated the exit of those in the building.”