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Security scuffles with disabled protesters at anti-Atos action

BLAZERED security officers at the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games headquarters tussled with disabled protesters yesterday as they protested against hated sponsor Atos.

Dozens of demonstrators demanded that organisers axe the IT giant from public promotions of the Games in light of its role in deadly cuts to disability benefits.

Atos has sought to boost its public profile by sponsoring database software for international sporting events.

Campaigners have fought to expose a string of scandals and wrongful sanctions arising from its contracts assessing sickness benefit claimants for the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP).

Glasgow Against Atos spokesman Sean Clerkin said yesterday their actions offered a “moral compass” for the games’ organisers.

Tim Salter, Jacqueline Harris and Nick Barker were just some of the suicide cases to make national headlines after being ruled “fit for work.”

“It’s a scandal that Atos is a sponsor for the Commonwealth Games, an absolute scandal,” he said.

The department says it does not record mortality rates for those deemed “fit for work.”

But DWP figures released in 2012 suggested that 2,200 people had died before Atos had even completed their assessment — and 1,300 had died within six weeks of being shunted into “work related activity.”

Atos has even seen silent protest from Paralympic athletes who hid their branded lanyards from cameras at London’s 2012 opening ceremony, while Sport Disability Scotland told MSPs in April that their own staff and volunteers had encountered athletes who could no longer afford to continue their sporting careers after losing a work capability assessment.

A demonstrator yesterday who declined to be named described Atos’s appointment as “a total joke.”

He said: “The guy up the stair from me has got one lung and he’s in a wheelchair with an oxygen tank.

“He was put in the ‘fit for work’ group and six months later he died.”

An Atos spokeswoman said the company did not decide on benefit entitlements but merely forwarded “highly professional and compassionate” assessments to DWP officials.

And a Glasgow 2014 spokesman said it remained “very proud” of Atos’s involvement.

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