Crippen applauds disabled protesters who are prepared to face prison

Disabled activists Dolly Sen and Ellen Clifford have stated that they are prepared to break the law, and even go to prison, if the government succeeds in bringing in new legislation that will see the criminalisation of protest.

Criminalisation of Protest

They were both speaking at the online launch of Dolly’s new documentary, Broken Hearts for the DWP, which exposes the role of the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) in countless deaths of benefit claimants over the last decade.

Dolly told those at the launch that she was “expecting to go to jail” for her fight against injustice, due to changes being introduced by the government through the police, crime, sentencing and courts bill that she said would have a worrying impact on the right to protest.

Ellen Clifford, a member of the national steering group of Disabled People Against Cuts (DPAC), said the bill was one of the ways the government was using to shut down disabled people’s attempts to protest its actions. The bill also included attacks on the use of judicial reviews, a lawful process that has been a successful means of challenging wrongful government decisions by disabled people over the past 10 years.

She added:

“We know from history that the only way to achieve fundamental change is from the grassroots up, when we all collectivise and we forcefully demand the change that we want to see. Unfortunately, there aren’t any easy or comfortable ways to do that, and I just think we absolutely cannot be afraid of criminalisation. We have to take it on as our next battle.”

Speaking to Disability News Service (DNS) after the launch, Ellen said: “Disabled activists have to not be afraid to risk prison, we have to protest and go to prison to get our voices heard. We can’t look for ways around it – softer options that might be more comfortable and convenient for us, but which will fail to get our message across or to raise awareness sufficiently, and most importantly present a challenge to those in power.

“There are people [in the disability sector] who think that the way that you engage and influence the government is to be reasonable. But you don’t. First of all, if they don’t want to listen, they are not going to listen however you put across your evidence. This government is unreasonable, they are violent, they create injustice, and they have created a system that is deliberately designed to push disabled people into poverty because our lives are worth less to them than other people’s. It’s right that we meet them with a level of anger that is completely justified.”

Description of cartoon for those using screen reading software

Boris Johnson is standing alongside of a police officer who is holding a card with ‘police, crime, sentencing and courts bill’ printed upon it. Behind Johnson is a crowd of disabled activists protesting about inaccessible transport, the DWP and those disabled people who have died during benefit assessments. Several recognisable faces are amongst the protesters including Sue Elsegood, Dolly Sen, Ellen Clifford, and Bob Williams-Findlay. Johnson is pointing at the card with a quizzical expression on his face. The police officer is saying to him: “We can’t arrest them Sir – none of our jails are accessible!”

One response to this post.

  1. Posted by A6er on 02/01/2022 at 20:28

    Reblogged this on Tory Britain! .


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