This video showing a man in a wheelchair being manhandled by police at last Thursday’s student riots has gone viral as they say. The man was interviewed on the BBC yesterday and apparently some people thought that the interviewer, Ben Brown, gave Jody McIntyre an unnecessarily hard time.
It seems to me that Ben Brown treated McIntyre like anyone else.
McIntyre is not being particularly honest though. Although he presents himself as a cerebral palsy victim in a wheelchair he does not mention that by his own account he walked up the 9 stories of stairs of the 30 Millbank building during the student riots of 10th November. His account, here, also makes it sound like he is quite happy to be at the sharp end of these demos; always at the front, dismantling barriers and walking himself to the top floor of 30 Millbank. The quotes below show give you some insight I think:
The sun was shining on the morning of November 10th, and our blood was boiling.
We passed Trafalger Square, and half way down Whitehall found ourselves approaching the main bulk of the demonstration, which had assembled there. It was an endless sea of people, but unfortunately, they had been corralled by police and NUS stewards into one lane of the dual carriageway. Me and Finlay immediately set to work, tearing down the metal barriers which separated the two lanes.
We were approaching the Treasury on our right; “That’s our first target,” I told my brother.
All of a sudden, the bicycle burst out of the crowd, rushing through the pair of armed police guarding the private road of the Treasury. A group of 200 followed, including me in my wheelchair, and Finlay pushing at full speed.
We continued down the sixty stone steps at the other end of the Treasury road without so much as a pause for breath. We were on the rampage.
As batons began to swing, me and Finlay stood our ground on the front line. I stood up on my wheelchair …
In front of us, a huge glass building towered; it was the Conservative Party’s Headquarters, and it was under attack. The crowd was so tightly packed that even with the wheelchair, it was a huge effort to force our way through. Around half way we gave up. The crowd was swaying. “They’re smashing the windows…”
Me and Finlay looked at each other. We knew that we had to make it to the front. Kareem started pushing the wheelchair again, and Finlay cleared a path in front of us.
Two rows from the front of the crowd, I saw a close friend, Jonte. He grabbed my arm. “This is so tight, we are going to break the police line any moment now. Me and Finlay went for one last push, and forced our way to the front.
It was an epic mission to the top. Nine floors; eighteen flights of stairs. Two friends carried my wheelchair, and I walked.
The police are entitled I think to start pushing and shoving when hostile and potentially violent protestors will not move out of their way. McIntyre is using his disability as a stick to beat the police with. He wants to be treated as an equal but apparently feels he is somehow inviolate because he is disabled. McIntyre seems to want to indulge in riskless thrill seeking. If he dishes it out, he should learn to take it.