At the end of 2018, the Independent Living Association (Associazione Vita Indipendente ONLUS) held three protests for independent living in Florence, Italy. The protests took place on 20 and 30 November, as well as on 18 December in front of the Regional Council of Tuscany (which is something like a regional parliament), and received significant media coverage. Among others, the activists demanded the increase of the personal budgets, and the abolition of the waiting lists.

On 20 November, the protesters blocked the traffic for half an hour on one of the main streets of Florence. As a result, some regional councilors spoke to them, but without actually committing to anything. You can find more information here*.

On 30 November, the independent living activists interrupted an important ceremony, right at the moment when the President of the European Parliament, Mr. Tajani, was speaking. They hid a megaphone behind a wheelchair, and using the megaphone, a disabled activist explained on behalf of all the situation and said why we need more personal assistance. In this video, we can see that, while she was talking, the President of the Regional Council himself tried to pull the megaphone out of the hand of her personal assistant, but without success. After her speech, both President Tajani and the President of the Regional Government said that independent living for people with disabilities is an important issue that needs to be supported. Find more information here.

On 18 December, the activists blocked the traffic again, this time for two hours, on one of the main roads in Florence and they then interrupted a meeting of the Regional Council. After that, the councilors unanimously approved a mediocre motion in favor of independent living, but refused to discuss an amendment to increase the funding, which was one of the activists’ main requests. The President of the Regional Government spoke with them for a while, but gave only vague promises. Read more here, and see photos here.

The Independent Living Association will not stop there and will fight until independent living becomes a reality for everyone.

*All the links are in Italian, but the texts can be translated into different languages by clicking on the button in the top right corner.