Demonstrators Block Traffic At Westminster Bridge
By Dave Reynolds, Inclusion Daily Express
March 16, 2004
LONDON, ENGLAND--To protest the narrowness of the government's draft Disability Discrimination Bill, 40 people -- many in wheelchairs -- blocked morning rush-hour traffic at the Westminster Bridge last Tuesday.
Eight protesters, two women and six men, were arrested and charged with obstructing traffic during the 7 o'clock demonstration.
The activists told the BBC that the bill does not address issues that many people with disabilities face, because the viewpoints of people affected by the policies have not been included in the process.
"The government has the opportunity to improve the lives of disabled people which they promised they would do," said Andy Gill, of the Disabled Action Network (DAN).
"They are failing to live up to that promise and it's about time they talked to disabled people so they can understand the real issues that affect them."
Gill said that the plan needs to do more to provide affordable housing and independent living services.
Government officials noted that the bill has expanded to include "more areas of everyday life", including transportation, legal protections from discrimination, and housing.
A parliamentary scrutiny committee is reviewing the draft currently under consideration. The committee is expected to publish a report with its recommendations by the end of next month.
Draft Disability Discrimination Bill (Department for Work and Pensions)
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