'Wheelchair Guerillas' Stage Quick Action, Then Retreat
By Dave Reynolds, Inclusion Daily Express
March 23, 2006
MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA--A small squad of what the Herald-Sun described as "wheelchair guerillas" stopped a tram, or streetcar, Tuesday to deliver a quick message about accessibility.
According to the news service, one of the protesters parked on the tracks in front of the Victoria Market tram, while the others handed out leaflets to passengers.
The demonstrators said the State of Victoria is discriminating against people that have disabilities by failing to build accessible streetcar platforms in a timely manner. They pointed to the fact that only four percent of stops are currently wheelchair accessible, even though Australia's Disability Discrimination Act requires 25 percent to be accessible by 2007.
After about 10 minutes, the group dispersed peacefully.
A spokesperson with the Transport Ministry said they would need to build about 430 new platforms around the city in order to meet the deadline, but that construction is proving to be difficult and expensive because "not all tram stop locations are suitable for platforms."