Tuesday, 25 January 2011

National Protest Against Benefit Cuts - Party and Picnic in Triton Square

Please note that I/WtB do not endorse any of the sentiments expressed in these photographs. I'm merely reporting images I saw at the protest.

Here's a selection of placards I snapped during yesterday's protest:

Stop Atos mugging disabled people

£9 billion cuts to disabled benefits. Kat, Sara, Charlotte, Benny, Nemo, Jean: Too sick to protest - living in fear

Disabled people will not be Con-Dem'd by the banker's friend!

Atos don't give a tos - My DLA was stolen

2010! When is a sick note not a sick note? When it's a well note. Is this a sick joke? Or 1984?

No to abolition of Income Support and Carer's Allowance

Atos are scum

Atos kill cripples

It was actually a really nice spot for a protest: There were places to sit, somewhere to shelter if it had rained (which thankfully it didn't) and a Starbucks and a Pret A Manger only a few yards away. I think Starbucks did a roaring trade in selling hot drinks to cold cripples. Lots of people brought communal food and cake and it was all very lovely. We even had support from trade unions and UCL occupiers, which was refreshing after the lack of solidarity we saw last time. I think in part we have to thank Laurie Penny's call for support for that.

I've read lots of rumours that we were Kettled Crips (pardon the pun, couldn't resist). I have no idea what happened after the protest moved to Marylebone, but we weren't kettled in Triton Sq. I was rather confused reading all these tweets claiming we were detained considering I'd just nipped out to get a cuppa and come back. Whilst inside Starbucks I saw several other protesters who, like me, had just nipped out of the protest area to get a hot drink.

Yes, there were fences around us to keep a footpath free of protesters for people needing to walk past. But we weren't "detained" at any point. If we wanted to leave police let us out of the eastern end of the protest area. Admittedly they weren't letting us out of the western end, which was outside Atos's door, but the fact that they were letting us out of the eastern end means that we were not detained.

As I arrived I did hear one police officer say to the two standing near him "look out, here comes a wheelchair." (As if I was rolling menacingly towards them...) I don't think he meant for me to hear that, I don't think he realised the acoustics of the corridor between 2 buildings which carried his voice. Once I was close enough for them to intentionally speak to me they were perfectly polite and friendly. I think at one point there were just as many police as protesters present and they were never threatening and were perfectly friendly to everyone I saw engage with them. The only time my safety was in jeopardy yesterday was when I was pushing back to my car after the protest and one of my front wheels caught on a sticky uppy paving slab and I nearly landed on my face. So thanks for that, Camden Council.


  1. thanks for the report

    the protest was briefly contained, which I assume is when the initial tweet went out. this happened because the police appeared to be form a line to contain the protest and we decided to move back into the larger part of Triton square where there were more amenities etc. at this point the police surrounded the protest and refused to let anyone leave. this situation remained for maybe 15-20 minutes when we were informed by the cop in charge that people were free to leave as long as they were happy to be escorted from Triton Square.

    after a while this was relaxed and the police presence pulled back allowing people in and out however we were informed that we would not be permitted to leave en masse.

    protesters then moved to the DWP office/Atos testing centre Tresco House in Marylebone which was briefly occupied without a police presence. when the police turned up people left as the building was largely shutting down for the day. there's a full report, plus details of events in other cities at: http://benefitclaimantsfightback.wordpress.com/2011/01/25/atos-mobbed/

  2. Thank you so much, on behalf of those of us unable to get out.

  3. good to see people exposing them for the scum they are, they are nothing but bullies. Well paid ones at that

  4. It would be great to organise mini satellite protests where more of us could do it - I know I could manage a reasonable afternoon of protesting (now I have my rollator), but not the journey to and from London!

    JCPs/ATOS centres would be great, unless many of them are like my local one in Lancaster, where no-one except employees and victims would see...

  5. thank you , on behalf of thouse who cant get out

  6. Hello,
    I'm writing something to be published tomorrow or Friday on the Birmingham Against the Cuts website about the national week of action against ATOS next week, and would like to use a couple of your photos in the post, if that would be ok.


  7. That would be fine as long as you credit me. (I uploaded those photos to Flickr where my username is "Lisy Babe" so if you could credit me as something along the lines of "Lisy Babe on Flickr" or whatever makes the most grammatical sense.)

  8. Birmingham Against the Cuts4 May 2011 at 23:34

    Great, cheers will do :)