Paralympic Protest – Atos Out of the Olympics!
A small but committed protest braved the weather and demonstrated outside the Paralympic Goalball test event last Saturday December 3rd. A large banner reading ‘Atos Kills’ was unfurled outside the entrance to the Olympic Park, whilst protesters made speeches and handed out leaflets, resplendent in their newly printed Atos Kills T Shirts.
Atos are the company responsible for carrying out the notorious Work Capability assessment which had led to thousands of sick and disabled claimants being stripped of benefits, forced into stressful legal proceedings and made to attend demeaning health assessments. The assessment has led to people with terminal cancer and other serious health conditions being judged fit for work. Tragically several people have committed suicide due to decisions made by Atos ‘Healthcare’.
When not harassing sick and disabled people Atos are trying to clean up their filthy corporate image by becoming involved with the Paralympic Games. Campaigners have vowed that Atos will not receive one inch of good publicity due to their involvement. Wherever Atos go, we’ll be there, to show people the true face of this corporation.
The protest was a success and despite vague threats from the police, who claimed they couldn’t ensure disabled people’s safety unless we talked to them, relations with police and Westfield Shopping Centre security remained cordial on the day. It does perhaps leave us wondering why the police think that benefit claimants and disabled people are unable to organise a safe visit to a shopping centre without their help, unless of course the only threat to our safety came from the police themselves.
Lots of leaflets were given out and speeches made about Atos’ involvement in the Paralympic Games, then a short protest was also held outside Stratford Station where the banner was unfurled and more speeches made.
The day was also the anniversary of the Bhopal Gas Disaster and protesters also highlighted the role of Dow corporation as Olympic Partners. Dow have repeatedly refused to pay compensation for the disaster that claimed thousands of lives and has been estimated to have caused 558,125 injuries including approximately 3,900 severely and permanently disabling injuries.
The day was part of the Month of Festive Action against Atos which began on December 1st when a speech by Iain Duncan Smith at the LSE was met with demonstrators outside and noisy heckles inside. Earlier in the week some claimants joined the PCS picket line at HMRC Euston, before carrying out a brief protest outside Atos’ corporate headquarters in Triton Square, which left security scurrying to lock down the building.
Claimants, disabled people and supporters will be back at Triton Square on the 16th December where a Real Victorian Christmas Party and Picnic against Atos will be held from 2pm.
(above pic: Martin Slavin)