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Atos protesters clash with police in 'day of action' against Paralympics sponsor

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Atos protesters clash with police in 'day of action' against Paralympics sponsor Powered By Docstoc
					http://www.guardian.co.uk/society/2012/aug/31/atos-protest-paralympics-sponsor?newsfeed=true




Atos protesters clash with police in 'day of
action' against Paralympics sponsor
Campaigners occupy DWP lobby while activists picket IT giant's office
over £100m contract to assess incapacity benefit claimants




https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wBWZSeLhwwo&feature=player_embedded

Disabled people and anti-cuts activists have scuffled with police after
occupying the lobby of the Department of Work and Pensions office in
Whitehall in protest against back-to-work fitness tests run by the private
health firm and Paralympic sponsor, Atos.

Scores of activists staged protests outside of the central London
headquarters of the IT firm Atos before moving on to the DWP, which
administers the multimillion-pound contract with the French company.
Protesters are understood to have locked themselves in to areas of the
DWP's Caxton House building while others, including those in wheelchairs,
occupied the building's lobby and front entrance before being removed by
police. Most of the protesters have now left the building but a number are
still inside.




https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JSWxJXPDqW4&feature=player_embedded

Atos has attracted fierce controversy over its involvement in the Games
while contracted by the government to carry out "fitness to work" tests on
incapacity benefit claimants.

Campaigners say the £100m-a-year contract from the Department of Work
and Pensions to conduct "work capability assessments" is part of a money-
saving drive to force people off benefits even when they may be unable to
work. They claim the scheme has driven many disabled people into poverty
or, in some cases, to suicide.

On Thursday, ParalympicsGB officials denied British athletes at the Games
had hidden their accreditation badges at the opening ceremony, after
observers noted that none was displaying the lanyard that bears the
sponsor's logo.

It emerged this week that the multinational holds government contracts
worth more than £3bn with 10 government departments covering a range of
services. City analysts have estimated its involvement with London 2012 – it
was also a sponsor of the Olympic Games – is worth £200m in revenues.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dXBmym0K2fg&feature=player_embedded

Paddy Murphy, at DPAC, described the firm's sponsorship of the
Paralympics as "beyond a joke".

"They receive hundreds of millions of pounds from the government while
many disabled people are being forced to live in abject poverty because of
their decisions."

In a statement, Atos said: "We fully respect people's right to peaceful protest
and we understand this is a highly emotive issue.




https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OQ8cfCmpXLw&feature=player_embedded

"We do not make decisions on people's benefit entitlement or on welfare
policy but we will continue to make sure that service that we provide is as
highly professional and compassionate as it can be. We do this through a
constant programme of training and education for our staff, a rigorous
recruitment process for healthcare professionals and through continual work
with the government, disability rights groups, healthcare professionals and
those going through the process on the ground.
"At Atos we have proudly supported the Paralympics movement for a
decade. We hope people will view the Games as we do, as an opportunity
to celebrate sporting achievements."

Lord Coe, the London 2012 chairman, also re-iterated his support for Atos
as a sponsor at a press conference this morning. "They are helping us with
accreditation and they are helping us with the recruitment of volunteers.
They are helping the media with the delivery of results. They have been in
the Olympic and Paralympic space for a long time. You know my view, we
can't do this without sponsors. So the short answer is that I am pleased
they're here. They are helping us."

				
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Description: Disabled people and anti-cuts activists have scuffled with police after occupying the lobby of the Department of Work and Pensions office in Whitehall in protest against back-to-work fitness tests run by the private health firm and Paralympic sponsor, Atos.