Police Violence Mars Successful Day of Action Against Atos

One wheelchair user suffered a broken shoulder yesterday after police indiscriminately attacked a peaceful protest held by disabled people and supporters outside the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP).

Several hundred people had earlier gathered outside the London headquarters of Paralympic sponsor Atos as part of the week of action against the company.  Atos carry out the Work Capability Assessment, a computer based test which has been used to find hundreds of thousands of disabled and seriously ill people ‘fit for work’.

Tragically several people have committed suicide after Atos and the DWP have connived to cut their benefits, whist many more have had conditions worsened by the endless and traumatic assessment regime.  Astonishingly Atos are also sponsors of the London Paralympic Games.

Whilst speeches and angry chants condemned the company outside their own front  door, other disabled activists had joined up with UK Uncut outside Caxton House in Westminster, the home of the DWP.  Several people gained entrance to the building, with two wheelchairs users locking themselves in the doorway.  A line of people formed in front of the doors with banners effectively closing the building down.

After several minutes of confusion on the part of G4S security staff, scores of police arrived and pushed past the line of people into the building.  As more and more police arrived a tense stand off took place with growing numbers of police both inside and outside the building.

Luckily help was at hand as the demonstration at the Atos HQ ended and over 200 people came to join protesters outside the DWP.  A lively crowd gathered outside the building whilst another line of wheelchair users formed in front of the door.

The police response became increasingly aggressive as groups of officers repeatedly attempted to push through lines of people and clear the space.  At one point police charged out of the building, lashing out at disabled and non disabled protesters like.  This caused several people to be pushed onto the line of wheelchair users, with one man suffering a fractured shoulder as a result, whilst another protester was pushed out of their wheelchair.  When one man objected to this wholly unnecessary use of violence by police he was arrested.

Disabled activists have expressed outrage at this reckless and irresponsible police response which could easily have resulted in far more serious injuries (or even worse).  No thought seemed to be given at all to the large numbers of disabled people, or those with serious health conditions, who were present at the demonstration.  Many in the crowd expressed disbelief at such unnecessary violence at an entirely peaceful occupation of the lobby of a public building.  With the recent acquittal of Simon Harwood, the police officer who killed Ian Tomlinson at the G20 demonstration in 2009, it appears the police have new confidence in using violent tactics to suppress peaceful protest.

As police finally managed to secure the front doors of the DWP, ironically blockading it themselves, the mood eased slightly and people began to make speeches telling of their experience at the hands of Atos and the DWP.  Eventually those protesters remaining inside the building were allowed to leave and emerged to large cheers from the assembled crowd.

Whilst the day was marred by the police’s use of unnecessary force, it was still a great success with the largest demonstration so far outside Atos and a creative, and ultimately hugely successful direct action at the DWP.  Whilst just a few miles away Paralympics were being celebrated, the events taking place in Central London showed the true face of this Government’s attitude towards disabled people.  Paralympians are handed medals for the cameras in front cheering crowds whilst hundreds of thousands of disabled people face benefit cuts and poverty.  Yesterday’s events revealed that those who complain can expect to be violently attacked by state thugs.

Disabled People Against Cuts, who called the protest, have vowed not to be deterred with more actions and protests planned.  Other groups are also mobilising to resist this toff Government’s endless war on those with least. A National Day of Action Against Workfare has been called by Boycott Workfare for next Saturday 8th September.

27 responses to “Police Violence Mars Successful Day of Action Against Atos

  1. Post Tomlinson the #policegang are more aware than ever that they can act with impunity in their attempts to provoke riots. In order that the worthless millionaire Cameron can label legitimate protest as terrorism and further erode what little remains of our pseudo Human Rights.

  2. Even 10 years of the loathsome Hartz IV welfare reform in Germany can’t match the level of depravity shown by this coalition (and it must always be remembered, the last Labour government who initiated these reforms).

  3. Pingback: Police Violence Mars Successful Day of Action Against Atos | Social Welfare News | Scoop.it

  4. When people riot the ruling elite’s media says: “if people are unhappy with government policies, they should protest peacefully and not resort to violence, that is the civilised way to behave” and then when people protest peacefully, the police resort to violence and brutalise them.

  5. The forces of the state are showing their true colours – they must be scared…

  6. Reblogged this on DOG Sharon and commented:
    Atos kills and the police injure disabled folk

  7. Pingback: Action against Atos, and other late August adventures. | Cautiously pessimistic

  8. The acquittal of the thug who killed Mr Tomlinson can only be blamed on the jury.

  9. Pingback: Police Violence Mars Successful Day of Action Against Atos | Disability Issues | Scoop.it

  10. No doubt the IPCC will let these scum get away with it again.

  11. So now they see themselves as the shock troops of The ConDems…..stormtroopers. Gestapo tactics to frighten those unabe to defend themselves.
    All part of an orchestrated campaign. History teaches us nothing if not that it repeats itself.
    “It can’t happen here?” It already is.

  12. All cops are bastards! Fuck these Nazi cunts!

  13. Absolutely un-fucking-believable and no mention at all on propaganda machine that is the BBC. I’m so sad and ashamed of what this country is becoming.

  14. Chris “Sensitive” Grayling?

    “In discussions behind the scenes, Grayling has warned consistently of the difficulty intrinsic to shifting from one benefit culture to another and the natural anxieties that such reform provokes in claimants – anxieties that can be overcome, but only with guidance and sensitivity. To take a simple example: Grayling inherited a system from Labour where those claimants were summoned to assessment by a computer-generated DWP letter; now, they are telephoned.”


    Scratch that one, then, I’ll never get a job as a journalist on the Telegraph. Try as I might I don’t think I could ever write anything quite as inane as this.

  15. The police use this tactic a lot to shock and immobilise protesters and by all accounts, it worked. Protesters should wake up to the fact that our police aren’t gentlemen any more and be ready for these tactics.
    They will shove, kick, push and even punch to get you out of their way, shocking ordinary members of the public into inaction. They don’t care who you are or what you are doing, you are in their way and they have their orders!

    Maybe being tied together with chains might be a good idea, would take them some time to get through the crowd, anything that slows their charge and prevents the protest being broken up so quickly.

    • Why not copy “police” “tactics”; link together to form a 6 person deep “wall”. Time to wake up and stop being a bunch of pushovers – Dixon of Dock fucking Green is a myth.

    • The Filth were NEVER gentlemen… The Miners found this, to their cost, my generation of the second summer of love also found this out the hard way..
      One particularly brutal incident of police brutality springs to mind was the rave in a disused warehouse at Lomeshay industrial estate in Nelson… Kids, lads and girls, 1989 i think, id have been 18, running from the filth being brought down with batons to the head, beaten while on the floor…
      No violence before the filth arrived

  16. Andrew Coates Old Grannie

    The police are bleeding filth. .

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  20. Pingback: It’s Time To Learn From History, Direct Action and Disobedience Is What Brings Governments Down | the void

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