Author Topic: DPAC London demo blocking ambulances  (Read 255 times)

Sunny Clouds

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DPAC London demo blocking ambulances
« on: 29 Sep 2021 09:56AM »
DPAC held a demo in London on Tuesday against the £20 cut and other welfare cuts.  They advertised it as being at a location (outside St Pancras) not as a march. 

They were joined by activists from a non-disability group, some of whom were visibly disabled, i.e. overlapping interests and the banner-displaying, slogan-chanting and noise-making began.  It started raining and they went in the station, but it's large and other people were able to get past. 

However, the group was then led out onto the Euston Road, with police stopping the traffic, and then, a bit further along, tried to block both sides of the road.  It took effort from some of the demonstrators plus the police to try and get enough of the other demonstrators off the road to try to get an ambulance through, but some were very obstinate and refused to budge, leaving one carriageway of the road blocked off, making it difficult to move buses out of the way of the ambulance.  I don't know how long it took the ambulance finally to get through.

I can't get my head round how anyone would think that they'd get any support for a cause by stopping a blue-light emergency vehicle getting through.  They were also blocking buses, including ones that had destination St Barts Hospital.  Traffic was backed up to Euston Station, including another ambulance, albeit with its blue lights switched off.

I feel about this the way I do about the Insulate Britain campaigners blocking motorway traffic.  Amongst the casualties was a woman having a stroke being driven to hospital by her son, and who is now paralysed down one side.  It is being said that the doctors say if there hadn't been a delay of several hours, they could have prevented that happening.  A cancer surgeon missed a day's operating. 

I really can't see that causing ordinary, unconnected people to suffer like this helps causes.  To attract people's attention, maybe annoying or delaying non-urgent activity a little, or a pre-planned march with traffic diversions, can make a point.

I will never support another DPAC demo.
(I'm an obsessive problem-solver, so feel free to ignore any suggestions or solutions I offer, even if they sound terribly insistent.)

KizzyKazaer

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Re: DPAC London demo blocking ambulances
« Reply #1 on: 30 Sep 2021 04:37PM »
As soon as I read the third paragraph of the above, I thought "Have they been taking lessons from Insulate Britain??"
Quote
I can't get my head round how anyone would think that they'd get any support for a cause by stopping a blue-light emergency vehicle getting through. 
No, me neither.  Whenever I hear about/read about/see the latest disruption caused by Insulate Britain (apparently an off-shoot of the equally infuriating Extinction Rebellion) I forget all about what they're actually fighting for.  All I can think of is "what a bunch of self-aggrandizing, totally irresponsible numbskulls".   (Well, I think something far ruder but I wouldn't post it on here).  To say they're not doing their campaign any favours is an understatement - talk about self-defeating action!


I feel sad that DPAC have been stupid enough to follow the same path.

>edited to add a paragraph break as for some reason my initial posts aren't including them...)
« Last Edit: 30 Sep 2021 04:41PM by KizzyKazaer »

Sunny Clouds

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Re: DPAC London demo blocking ambulances
« Reply #2 on: 30 Sep 2021 06:05PM »
I sometimes find myself wondering whether some of the people leading demonstrations like that are either daft (and I'm not referring to intelligence levels but to lack of common sense), a bit deranged (or even psychotic), or just jumping on any old cause for the sake of having an excuse to stubborn or whatever.

I know it happens with nasty regimes and nearly-nasty regimes that tip over.  What I struggle so much with is when it happens in this sort of situation.

For me the best recent example of camera footage of people taking advantage of demonstrations for what I personally think are good causes was BLM demonstrations in America where some people used them as an excuse to loot shops.  Nasty.  It's happened over here on various demos for a range of causes, I just think the American camera footage is more vivid.

But what on earth possesses people with a range of impairments, some of whom must have surely needed urgent help at times in their lives to put others at risk of becoming disabled to an extent that could have been avoided?  If you're campaigning against benefits cuts, why increase someone's chances of becoming dependent on benefits?

I keep wondering whether the lights-off ambulance further back had someone in it, perhaps a frail, dying person on a hospital transfer, or perhaps a mentally ill person utterly terrified.   And what about those on buses - missed appointments?

London is huge.  There are opportunities to demonstrate in a way that attracts attention without blocking essential traffic.

As an aside, it was an incident with an ambulance many years ago (not in London) that still gives me hope in human nature.  I was eleven, waiting for the school bus on a main road, just wide enough for one lorry/bus to pass each way.  The snow was deep, maybe knee height at the kerbs. 

A siren could be heard from round a bend in the road.  The vehicle couldn't be seen and might have been going a different way across traffic lights just out of sight.

Drivers started shuffling their cars back and forth into the snow drifts without waiting to see the emergency vehicle.  An ambulance came through.  Pedestrians then moved forward and spread out to help the cars back onto the road.  We were pretty soggy but felt emotionally warm from the community spirit.

I will never forget that incident.  For all that when I see an ambulance, I feel for the casualty, whenever I see a driver, a cyclist, a pedestrian move out of the way, it gives me hope.

(I'm an obsessive problem-solver, so feel free to ignore any suggestions or solutions I offer, even if they sound terribly insistent.)

Sunny Clouds

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Re: DPAC London demo blocking ambulances
« Reply #3 on: 30 Sep 2021 06:18PM »
Mind you, a day earlier, I got annoyed with a bus driver in my home town but warmed by passengers.

An elderly man went to get off the bus.  As he passed my seat I called out to tell him the papers in his pocket were falling out, but he didn't seem to hear me.  He got off the bus and three other passengers shouted that the paperwork was on the floor.  We shouted to the driver to stop but he wouldn't.

Other passengers said he'd dropped his bus pass when he got on.

I pressed the bell and got off at the next stop, pausing to point out to the driver as I glanced at the papers that it was a hospital appointment letter.  I hurried back down the road, but couldn't find the man.  I thought maybe I could drop the letter off at his house, but when I looked again, I saw that the appointment was for about half an hour later in an old-age unit, that he would have to do an immediate about turn catching the  bus the opposite way to get to it, several stops back in the direction he'd come.

Writing around the date and time suggested confusion.  Not changes to the time and date, just someone trying to make sense of time, day, month, year.

I found someone with a smartphone and asked them to phone the hospital and say that if he didn't arrive or arrived late, that was why.  I went to the hospital and tried to hand in the letter and to begin with the receptionist didn't quite understand, maybe thinking I'd been sent by him or was a carer or something, and was impatient, but then she realised what I meant and was helpful.

I hope he got to his appointment, and if not, that they sent him a new one. 

Again, I was annoyed with the bus driver, but warmed by the other passengers and by the lovely man with the smartphone, who didn't just call the hospital, but checked with me to see if it would maybe be easier for him to take the letter to the hospital than for me, saying which road he lived in.

So stuff the DPAC and Insulate Britain block-the-essential-journey twerps.  Most people are kind and care about others so far as they are able. 
(I'm an obsessive problem-solver, so feel free to ignore any suggestions or solutions I offer, even if they sound terribly insistent.)

Sunny Clouds

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Re: DPAC London demo blocking ambulances
« Reply #4 on: 30 Sep 2021 06:45PM »
Another aside about kindness.  A near neighbour just turned up on my doorstep with some hot food.  We do those daft things round here.  I think my best gift to someone was a pack of loopaper with the words "Happy New Lockdown!" on it.  One neighbour gave me some balloons with faces drawn on them.  That's the tip of the iceberg.
(I'm an obsessive problem-solver, so feel free to ignore any suggestions or solutions I offer, even if they sound terribly insistent.)

Fiz

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Re: DPAC London demo blocking ambulances
« Reply #5 on: 01 Oct 2021 07:09PM »
The demonstrations blocking motorways angers me. My daughter and partner work in A&E and are affected by the road blocks and can't get too and from life saving work. My Godmother's sil was unable to get to his chemo and scans. Self centred idiots that need dealing with.

Sunny Clouds

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Re: DPAC London demo blocking ambulances
« Reply #6 on: 01 Oct 2021 09:16PM »
Working in A&E?  I think that job must be emotionally and physically exhausting even without a pandemic, so I could see this sort of extra hassle pushing some over the edge.

As I'm typing my mind is meandering.  I've read and heard stuff with people interviewed about why they're doing this road stuff and one of them saying something along the lines of its being like war and ordinary people get hurt.

My mind is mapping that onto something.  Governments and trade sanctions.  Trying to bring regimes down.  It's sold to us as attacking nasty tyrants by cutting off their dodgy money supplies, but the reality is that it hits ordinary people who go without basics and achieves the aims of governments of countries like ours by triggering revolution or civil war in the sanctioned country. 

How often do we question our leaders over these things?  Or how Churchill said he regretted his five-city terror campaign, but we're not allowed to regret it, because we have to stick him on a pedestal. 

So the leaders of campaigns like Insulate Britain are, I suppose, just copying the nasty tactics of our leading politicians.  Get the man in the street annoyed enough to get ranty with the politicians. 

Well, serious problems can require hard tactics, but look how often the foment-revolution approach has backfired on the wealthy nations using it.  And I think this block the traffic approach will backfire when used.
(I'm an obsessive problem-solver, so feel free to ignore any suggestions or solutions I offer, even if they sound terribly insistent.)

Fiz

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Re: DPAC London demo blocking ambulances
« Reply #7 on: 02 Oct 2021 04:53PM »
Oh I'm not ranty with the politicians, just the people blocking the roads which is costing lives, literally. I'm not someone who feels angry generally but if I came across a road block I'd certainly give the demonstrators an earful. I was against the new rules that went through parliament about people's rights to protest but now the government have my full support on it. They can add in some jail terms, hefty fines and crushing vehicles used to block roads as well plus the drivers can lose their driving licences too. [size=78%] [/size]

Sunny Clouds

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Re: DPAC London demo blocking ambulances
« Reply #8 on: 02 Oct 2021 05:34PM »
... I was against the new rules that went through parliament about people's rights to protest but now the government have my full support on it. They can add in some jail terms, hefty fines and ...

The new rules don't have my support.  I think that 'intentionally or recklessly causing public nuisance' is far too wide.  How will the courts interpret 'public nuisance' in this context?  Taken with the provision that the police will be able to impose a start and finish time, consider the situation if you decide to have a peaceful protest, not obstructing anyone's access anywhere, not with continuous loud shouting.  Perhaps you've got a crowd near a public building with banners, maybe calling out your views (without obscenities or threats) to certain key figures, e.g. shouting to councillors as they enter the council house "Use your vote!" or to a police commissioner entering a public meeting "Vet your officers!"  The police could, in theory, stop the demo saying it was a public nuisance and/or set a time limit on it of ten minutes.

When you look at just how far the bill seeks to restrict our rights, it would prevent lots of peaceful demonstrations that would not be intimidating, would not restrict access to places etc.

There would be almost no demos of any sort that wouldn't fall foul of the rules.  I'm thinking of how many demos we hold where I am.  I remember a 'Love your Neighbour' demo we held, organised by the local interfaith group (including Humanists, so not all deist, and not restricted to people with any involvement in local faith communities) where we gathered in a local paved public space with placards and banners.

Under the new legislation Priti Patel is pushing through, the police could have put a time limit on it of a few minutes, not even enough to unfurl our banners, and could have argued that we were causing a public nuisance because people would have to walk a few yards further to get to a road crossing.  (I think the detour would have been about 15 yards).  Or they might have argued that the hubbub of assembling, the collective ordinary voices, was disturbing people having a smoke outside the pub nearby.

Seriously, unless the Lords manage to get through some serious amendments, this legislation would enable the police to stop even peaceful community cohesion demonstrations.  And if you know you're vulnerable to prosecution and sentencing if you protest pretty peacefully, where's the incentive not to protest very noisily and aggressively? 

Not for nothing did the phrase "Might as well be hanged for a sheep as for a lamb" enter our language.  In the days when it was literally true you could be hanged for stealing a lamb, not only did you have an incentive when hungry to steal a sheep instead, you even had an incentive to kill the person whose sheep you stole, so they couldn't give evidence against you, because if you were caught for the murder, you'd be no worse off than if caught for stealing a lamb.
(I'm an obsessive problem-solver, so feel free to ignore any suggestions or solutions I offer, even if they sound terribly insistent.)

Fiz

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Re: DPAC London demo blocking ambulances
« Reply #9 on: 04 Oct 2021 05:08AM »
Despite it being approved and rubber stamped in parliament I haven't heard any outcries that protests have been prevented due to the new legislation so am unaware that people's fears are founded. Indeed Priti Patel is rushing through additional powers so that police have additional powers to prevent these road blockers from blocking roads and so current legislation isn't sufficient to prevent gridlock that costs lives. So as yet my jury is out on whether said legislation curtailed freedom of rights to protest. The aim of the legislation wasn't to stop people protesting but to allow other non protesting people to go about their lives and in my opinion they have rights too.