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Campaigners rally to rid Britain of Atos

Demonstrators target jobcentres and Atos offices

Disability and anti-cuts campaigners took to the streets yesterday in protest against hated welfare privateer Atos.

Demonstrators targeted jobcentres and Atos offices, saying that despite Atos quitting the £500 million work capability assessment (WCA) contract there was still a job to do.

"We need to get rid of Atos completely," said Disabled People Against Cuts (DPAC) spokesman Adam Lotun.

The government handed Atos a "substantial financial settlement" after dropping the WCA contract, but the French-owned privateer is still responsible for personal independence payment assessments.

"We need to get them removed from governmental services," Mr Lotun said, "not just in the WCA but out of PIP and out of jobcentres."

Activists rallied in 117 towns from Brighton to Workington.

In Sheffield dozens of people marched on the Rockingham House Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) office.

Once there the group of activists - including Unite, Napo and NUM members - entered the building and chained themselves to a staircase.

Unite Community South Yorkshire organiser Mairi-Ann Lowry said: "Demos are good but not enough.

"Until they abolish work capacity assessment we will keep protesting and we will keep occupying."

In Ealing, west London, 30 people from picketed the local jobcentre in protest at cuts to local services.

Acting Unite Community branch secretary Raj Gill said: "We feel really confident after today's protest."

As well as the Unite Community branch, members of the trades council, Slough TUC, RMT members, locals and Labour councillor Zahida Abbas Noori joined the protest.

"People have been put through a quite disgusting way of assessment," Mr Gill added. "It's degrading and discriminatory against disabled people."

DPAC and the Atos Kills campaign said the DWP and Pensions and Atos were culpable in the deaths of several vulnerable people.

Among them is Mark Wood, a mental-illness sufferer who starved to death after he was ruled fit for work and had his benefits cut.

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