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Scores of disabled protesters shutdown Westminster Bridge with chilling banners showing all those 'killed by cuts'

Disabled activists have shut down a major London bridge – in a sit-down protest at the people they say have been killed by Tory cuts.

Dozens of demonstrators have brought traffic to a standstill on Westminster Bridge – near the Houses of Parliament – for several hours this afternoon.

They are clutching heartrending banners showing the names and pictures of those they claim have died as a direct result of welfare reforms.

And while there has been a tense stand-off with police – who appeared in force shortly after the protest kicked off and surrounded the group – the bridge opened around 3pm.

People are continuing to protest with placards and shouting however.

The protest appears to have been timed to coincide with the launch of the Rio Paralympics 2016 opening ceremony in Brazil tonight – although that may be coincidence.

The protest kicked off at midday – and blocked off the busy bridge At midday today, join DPAC (Disabled People Against Cuts) in solidarity in protesting benefit related deaths outside Downing Street. #RightsNotGames Police are in attendance – and there is a tense stand-off

The group, Disabled People Against Cuts (DPAC), blocked off the bridge at around noon, preventing any and all vehicles getting past.

Many of the protestors have been chanting: “There’s only one Jeremy Corbyn.”

The group is claiming cuts to disability benefits since 2010 have become so severe the UK is now being investigated by the UN for violation the rights of disabled people.

At midday today, join DPAC (Disabled People Against Cuts) in solidarity in protesting benefit related deaths outside Downing Street. #RightsNotGames The protest appears to have caught the authorities unawares At midday today, join DPAC (Disabled People Against Cuts) in solidarity in protesting benefit related deaths outside Downing Street. #RightsNotGames DPAC (Disabled People Against Cuts) is asking people to join them in solidarity against the cuts

A statement issued by DPAC said: “Since 2010 deaf and disabled people have been targeted for cuts and seen hard won rights and freedoms taken away – and as a result, the UK is now the first country to be investigated by the UN for grave and systematic violation of disabled people’s rights.

“Through all this, while much of Labour was competing with the Tories on who could be the toughest on welfare, Jeremy [Corbyn] and John [McDonnell] stood with disabled people and opposed the cuts.

“At midday today, join DPAC (Disabled People Against Cuts) in solidarity in protesting benefit related deaths outside Downing Street.”

The group have been using the hashtag #RightsNotGames – a reference to the Rio Paralympic Games, which begin today.

The protest is about benefit cut-related deaths

Many members of the public agree with the protest – despite the disruption

A Met Police spokesman said: “Police are aware of a demonstration currently taking place on Wednesday, 7 September by Disabled People Against Cuts.

“The demonstrators are currently at Westminster Bridge Road.

“Motorists are advised to avoid the area if possible. Officers are on scene.”

They added that two people have been arrested on suspicion of obstructing the highway.

At midday today, join DPAC (Disabled People Against Cuts) in solidarity in protesting benefit related deaths outside Downing Street. #RightsNotGames Protestors are speaking out about the cuts At midday today, join DPAC (Disabled People Against Cuts) in solidarity in protesting benefit related deaths outside Downing Street. #RightsNotGames People are speaking at the debate

While many of the public appear to sympathise with the protest – after the group called for people to stand in solidarity with the group – not everyone is happy.

Newbury MP Richard Benyon posted on Twitter: “Some bunch of charmers have decided to disrupt millions of Londoners by sitting down on Westminster Bridge.”

Transport for London had issued a warning about traffic.

It posted on Twitter: “Westminster Bridge is blocked in both directions. Please use an alternative route.”

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