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Tuesday, December 23, 1997 Published at 08:16 GMT


Protesters throw 'Blair's blood'
image: [ A protester rolls in red paint outside the gates of Downing Street ]
A protester rolls in red paint outside the gates of Downing Street

Disabled protesters have thrown red paint over Downing Street's gates during a protest against the Government's welfare reforms.

The group chanted slogans against the Prime Minister, Tony Blair, outside his official residence, Number 10 Downing Street.

[ image: Protesters outside Downing Street]
Protesters outside Downing Street
The paint was thrown at the gate blocking public access to the street from Whitehall.

"Blair's Blood" was daubed on the pavement nearby.

Four protesters got out of their wheelchairs to smear the red paint on the road.

Kevin Donnellon, 35, a thalidomide victim, said the Government's intention to reform the benefits system would lead him to lose his invalidity benefit and mobility allowance.

He said: "I will not be able to run my car without my benefit and allowance money.

"These benefits are worth around £150 a week to me and my whole lifestyle is based around getting this money.

"I live on my own and I also have to pay for home help care so that will be under threat now.

"I feel that the Government are picking on us as soft targets, but we are going to show them that we are not soft targets."

[ image: Disabled people say cuts would hit their living standards]
Disabled people say cuts would hit their living standards
Another of the protesters handcuffed himself to the gates across Downing Street as more police officers began to arrive on the scene.

The protesters chanted "Tony, Tony, shame on you" as they made their way from Westminster Abbey to Downing Street.

Police arrived at the protest, which was organised by the Disabled People's Direct Action Network.

Around 20 people attended the protest.

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