Disabled activists target Olympics



FURIOUS disabled activists are planning a massive co-ordinated protest which will put their wheelchairs in direct collision course with the Olympics 2012 and Paralympics this summer.

An undercurrent of anger which has been boiling up for months is due to erupt in a wave of demonstrations which will target the Games site in east London, the capital’s transport system and elsewhere.

Disabled rights activists told the Star they have worked out detailed protest plans, saying they are fed up with Con-Dem government cuts which have hit them hard and what they believe are dodgy sponsorship links.

Adam Lotun of direct protest action group Disabled People Against Cuts (DPAC) said: “Targets, dates and times are being closely guarded.”

But DPAC will be working with campaign organisations such as UK Uncut and other direct action protest groups and are aiming to make their mark with disruption.

Mr Lotun vowed: “Unless they steal our wheelchairs and confine us to our houses they won’t stop us.”

Discontent has been brewing over disability issues for some time and a recent decision to close Remploy factories has been branded the most callous cut yet.

Mr Adam Lotun Wda said their direct action would be a “delicate disruption” similar to protests DPAC launched in January when disabled people in wheelchairs chained themselves together across London’s Regent Street.

That effectively closed off Oxford Circus to all traffic, public transport and pedestrians.

Although exact details are being kept under wraps there are strong rumours that disruption will be caused to Tube and train services around the Olympic site.

Other tactics might include wheelchair users chaining themselves to gates and buses and a range of “lightning” fast attacks across a range of sites.

Mr Lotun said: “It will not be just the Olympic areas – everywhere is a legitimate target for us.”

Disabled activists are also urging a general boycott of the Paralympics over links between the International Paralympic Committee and AtoS, a company that tests disabled people’s “fitness to work” for the government.

Atos is a sponsor and IT partner of the Paralympics and built the IPC’s new website.

Its Healthcare branch carries out work capability assessments on behalf of the Department for Work and Pensions and has been the focus of repeated protest action by disabled activists.

Among those calling for a boycott is pressure group Black Triangle Anti-Defamation Campaign in Defence of Disability Rights Co-founder John McArdle said: “The government is using them and the Paralympics to make propaganda for their ill-conceived welfare cuts programme.”

Mr Lotun said disabled people were also furious that World Champion and Olympic silver medallist Steve Cram, who has become Atos’s ambassador during the Games, has refused to talk to them.

Full size clear image of page HERE

The Morning Star

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