Disability rights protesters occupy Commission building

Campaigners occupied the Disability Rights Commission in
Manchester last month for over five hours arguing that it is not
adequately representing the views of disabled people,
writes Amy Taylor.

Around 25 members of the Disability Action Network conducted the
protest to raise the issue of independent living.

The protesters met with Bob Niven, the DRC’s chief executive,
where they asked him to sign a letter to the prime minister calling
for the right to independent living to be included in the
Disability Bill currently going through parliament. Niven got on
the phone to DRC chairperson Bert Massie during the meeting but
didn’t sign the letter.

DAN member Tom Comerford said that disabled people were still
treated like “second class citizens” despite the
Disability Discrimination Act 1995. “We know there’s
lots of people that can’t go on transport, can’t get
rehoused and can’t get into employment…so we want some
teeth in the Bill,” he said.

He added that DAN also wanted the DRC to be “fully
independent” arguing that it is currently too close to the

Niven said that the DRC believes the Disability Bill could be
strengthened but that the letter was unlikely to succeed and
“could even lead to the Bill being delayed or lost

He added that the DRC wanted to try to work with DAN. The
organisations are due to meet later this week.

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