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G4S security threats will not deter benefits protests

Privateer guard told activists 'I'm going to go out there and punch them'

PROTESTERS threatened with violence by G4S security staff at a local jobcentre have vowed to continue their fight against benefit cuts and sanctions today.

Tameside AntiCuts will return to their weekly peaceful demonstration at Ashton-Under-Lyne Jobcentre Plus, claiming they are "not afraid."

Last week's action ended on a sour note, when a member of the public exited the centre reporting a G4S security guard had just shouted: "I'm going to go out there and punch them."

Charlotte Hughes, who helps organise the unemployed in the town, said the behaviour of the jobcentre's outsourced security "beggars belief."

"I've saved three people from committing suicide this month," she told the Star, adding that jobseekers feel increasingly intimidated and alone.

Ms Hughes argued that the demonstrations are peaceful and that Tameside AntiCuts provides help, support and advice to the unemployed.

Demonstrations started in August after her 23-week pregnant daughter was sanctioned.

"She attended a workfare interview and was told by the jobcentre staff that she shouldn't have told B&Q that she was pregnant," explained Ms Hughes.

Ashton-Under-Lyne was chosen by the government as the launch centre of its universal credit flagship scheme in April 2013.

Ms Hughes said that is why the jobcentre's staff are particularly strict applying what she called an "inhuman sanctioning system."

Today's protest is nonetheless expected to carry on as normal.

"We are going to make the jobcentre aware that they can't threaten us," insisted Ms Hughes.

When approached by the Star, staff at the Ashton-Under-Lyne jobcentre refused to comment.

G4S also remained silent on the incident.


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