Disabled campaigners are planning a week of action during the Paralympic Games at the end of August to protest at the way people claiming sickness and disability benefit are treated.
The private company Atos Healthcare, one of the Olympics' sponsors, has come under fire for its handling of a £100m-a-year contract with the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) to assess whether people claiming for sickness and disability benefits are fit for work.
The Paralympic protests have been organised by the campaign group Disabled People Against the Cuts [Dpac]. Activists are planning to target Atos centres in their local areas before converging on 31 August in London, where they will join with campaigners from UK Uncut to take part in what is described as a "daring and disruptive action".
Paddy Murphy, from Dpac, said: "We're not against the Paralympics or the athletes, but it is completely inappropriate that Atos are sponsoring the Games. Implementing the government's welfare reform agenda, Atos have devastated the lives of hundreds of thousands of disabled people and made millions of pounds of profit doing it. Now they are trying to portray themselves as supporters of disabled athletes. It's offensive."
Murphy said it was a golden opportunity for disabled people to show they would not be intimidated. "We are challenging them [Atos and the assessments] in the courts, in parliament, online, on the streets and now at the Paralympics. The work capability assessment must end now," he said.
Paddy Murphy (no relation that I know of) is right: disabled people are being intimidated by Cameron and Duncan Smith's private sector bullies. And given that Atos are sponsoring the Paralympics they are a legitimate target for protest. I wish them well. Their cause is justified ethical and right.