More than 125 disabled activists used their wheelchairs to block the intersection of Security Boulevard and Woodlawn Drive yesterday during the afternoon rush hour to demand more federal money for aides to help handicapped people live at home.
Members of American Disabled for Attendant Programs Today (ADAPT) forced police to divert traffic around the busy intersection in western Baltimore County for more than three hours.
County police closed the eastbound exit ramp from the Beltway to Security Boulevard to prevent traffic from backing up on the Beltway, said police spokesman E. Jay Miller.
None of the protesters, who came from 23 states and the District of Columbia, was arrested.
Earlier yesterday, protesters surrounded the federal Health Care Financing Administration building on Security Boulevard to demand a meeting with Dr. Louis W. Sullivan, secretary of Health and Human Services, about funding for home service aides.
The group says 1.5 million handicapped Americans must live in nursing homes and other institutions because the federal government will not provide enough money for in-home aides. ADAPT is asking that a minimum of 25 percent of Medicaid's $23 billion budget be directed from nursing homes to at-home care.
The protesters vowed to return to the Health Care Financing Administration today to press their case.