Nottingham protest against ATOS Healthcare and police repression in Hockley – Friday 3rd February 2012

Press Release from Nottingham Defence Campaign


Activists have called to a protest against the conduct of Atos ‘Healthcare’ and what they describe as ‘police repression’ coming Friday (3rd February 2012).

In September 2011, two Nottingham residents, a retired paediatric nurse and a wheelchair user were arrested following a peaceful protest at the local offices of Atos ‘Healthcare’. Faced with an impressive solidarity campaign and apparently worried that their case had no chance of holding up in court, the CPS and Atos backed down. The charges of aggravated trespass were dropped.

The case of the ‘Atos Two’ was followed by arrests of Notts Uncut activists just before Christmas and the confiscation of a photography student’s tapes after he filmed an arrest.

Supporters of the arrestees have described these events as worrying signs that the local force is changing its attitude towards peaceful protesters. This seems to have been confirmed by a police officers’ remark who commented on the arrest of the ‘Atos Two’ by stating that there “had been too much of this sort of thing and we were told to crack down on it”.

Jamie Kennedy from the Nottingham Defense Campaign said: “The police have wasted time and resources on ridiculous charges. Meanwhile, Atos’ biased and abusive conduct against benefit claimants remains unchanged. They might have backed off from going after the Atos Two but we will certainly not let them off the hook!”

Protesters will gather on Friday 3rd February 2012 from 12.30pm at the junction of Carlton Street and Heathcote Street, Hockley, Nottingham; see


Nottingham Defence Campaign
Tel: 07758867343

Notes for editors

1) Regarding the original protest against Atos see:
2) Regarding the charges against the ‘Atos Two’ see:
3) Regarding the solidarity campaign for the ‘Atos Two’ see:
4) Regarding the arrests of Notts Uncut activists see:
5) Regarding the harassment of student photographer see:
6) A Statement of Support for the Atos Two has been signed by more than a hundred persons and organisations, including Welfare Rights Groups, Councillors and John McDonnell MP:
7) Atos Healthcare was selected by the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) to administer the Work Capability Assessments (WCA).
Campaigners claim that WCA are part of a deliberate policy by the coalition government designed to force as many people as possible off disability benefits regardless of their physical and/or psychological abilities.
Critics of Atos Healthcare point to the high number of successful appeals against decisions by the company. A report by BBC Inside Out East found that more than one third of appeals were successful:
Furthermore the expertise and conduct of the so called ‘healthcare professionals’ undertaking the assessments has been severely questioned by campaigners. In August it emerged that twelve doctors employed by the company were being investigated by the General Medical Council over allegations of improper conduct:

Resisting political policing in Nottingham – meeting at the Sumac Centre on Saturday 14th January afternoon


Following the arrests at the Notts Uncut “Christmas Special” and in light of the continuing prosecution of the “Atos Two” there is a need for people in Nottingham to get together to work out how we can effectively resist political policing.

To this end the Nottingham Defence Campaign are inviting people to an open meeting at the Sumac Centre, 245 Gladstone Street, Forest Fields, NG7 6HX, at 2pm on Saturday 14th January to discuss we want to respond. The meeting will be relatively informal and the agenda can be shaped by the specific concerns of attendees, but likely points of discussion include legal observing and support, court solidarity, further protests and wider publicity. Wheelchair access is on Beech Avenue entrance.

Event details:

Please come along or, if you can’t make it, spread the word.


UNISON slams decision to ban march by Tory controlled Rushcliffe Borough Council – Press Release 3rd Feb 2011

Press Release 03/02/2011: UNISON slams decision to ban march by Tory controlled Rushcliffe Borough Council

UNISON has commenced an appeal against Rushcliffe Borough Council, which has refused the union permission to use empty fields as a safe assembly area for a public march on 24 February against Nottinghamshire County Council budget cuts. The union has approval from the Police for the event, but is required to have a safe “point of assembly”.

Despite the land being vacant, and only used for overspill car parking for Trent Bridge cricket matches, the council claims that to allow permission might be seen as “supporting a political initiative”. The union believes the refusal to allow permission will be seen by local voters as politically motivated in itself.

Andy Belfield, UNISON East Midlands Regional Head of Local Government deplored the council decision:

“This should all be so straightforward. Conservatives in Nottinghamshire should be saying they will do whatever they can to avoid compulsory redundancies and they will make sure people have every chance to protest and have their say. Instead they are saying they intend to sack 1000 people they don’t have to, and they will try and ban people from peacefully protesting about it. It’s a sad day for the Tories in Notts.”

“Pensioners, services users, community groups and concerned local voters intend to take part in this march, and we need a safe point where people can assemble to reduce inconvenience to local residents and road users. The council must review its decision.”

The union has vowed that the planned march through West Bridgford will go ahead on 24 February 2011. The union will liaise with the police to identify an alternative point of assembly if the council will not budge. The union expects around 1,000 people to take part in the march, which will run from 11am to 12noon and end at County Hall.


Shocking video of UKUncut corporate tax protesters CS pepper-sprayed on Oxford Street, London [plus video of Nottingham demo].

In Nottingham on Sunday 30th January a further UKUncut demonstration was held against profiteering and the hypocrisy of governments that allow companies like Boots and Vodaphone to operate abroad and avoid tax when services are being cut – because the deficit must be reduced at all costs so we are being told time and time again.
Well if the cost is forests in England being sold off, libraries being closed, the NHS being maneouvered further towards privatisation, cuts to benefits and disability allowances going ahead at breakneck speed and an increase in homelessness due to the axing of vital services, then we don’t like it one bit. We are right to be angry. Watch video of Nottingham demo.

Meanwhile, on the demo in Oxford Street in London, after the Policy Exchange thinktank classed UKUncut as ‘street extremists’ who should be dealt with harshly and have their website taken down by the state for daring to suggest that something is wrong, it seems this policy idea was quickly put into practice, with protesters getting pepper sprayed in a manner that could not fail to be likened to the use of tear gas by police in Egypt in recent days.

UKUncut said: Before 15:00 outside Boots on Oxford Street a female activist tried to push a leaflet through the closed door of Boots explaining the details of Boots’ tax avoidance to the staff. A police officer then arrested the individual for “criminal damage”. Around 20 people tried to help the female being arrested and 10 were subsequently pepper sprayed. Three people have been taken to hospital.

Video link:

Link to pictures:

What next – tasers?

Full UK Uncut Press release:

Useful advice?
Or if you don’t fancy that, maybe this phone app for demos? Sukey Roar and Growl:

Video of Nottingham demo on 30th Jan 2011:


Them them eat paint! Education struggles set to continue in Nottingham after vote to raise fees is narrowly passed in Commons

Amidst the widescale revolt on the streets of London on the day of the vote to raise tuition fees, and the front page news spectacular of the paint bombing of the heir to the throne’s car on his way to a Royal Variety Performance, one thing is clear. After this narrowly won House of Commons vote, we are definitely not amused, and the fight against raised fees and other cuts to education will continue.

The choice of fees or graduate tax from different politicians is a diversion. The bottom line is that tuition fee rises, by whatever means students will be asked to pay them back, and the abolishing of Education Maintenance Allowance (EMA) for 16-18 year olds are examples of ordinary, and in this case mainly young, people having to pay as individuals for the economic crisis. We are told there is no alternative but there is – make education, like healthcare a common good, freely available to all. Our society has become so much more unequal and this has to be reversed. Private individuals continue to increase their wealth in spite of the crisis that was caused by speculation and the search for quick profits.

The attack on the royals, whilst this one off opportunity will no doubt be debated endlessly in terms of ‘security’ as will be the policing of anticuts and fees protests in general, it’s importance is mostly symbolic. What is really important is that more and more people are prepared to take to the streets to say no to privilege, no to top management bonuses, no to multi-billion tax dodges, and no cuts in services, arts and education. Why should we be the ones to suffer while the rich carry on entertaining themselves seemingly regardless of what we are going through?

Not only students …

On the website of Nottingham Students Against Fees and Cuts names of a total of 85 university staff at University of Nottingham from the School of History, School and Modern Languages and Culture and the School of Politics and International Relations can be found, in full support of last weeks occupation and opposition to the rise in fees.

One of the staff supporter who spoke during the occupation has written an article on his blog: Trade unions and global restructuring

It is especially good to see education workers supporting the students’ initiative, and that a city-wide education network is in the making. This network will hopefully involve students in higher and further education colleges and schools, parents, teachers, lecturers, researchers, technicians, admin and clerical, porters, cleaners, caterers – everyone. Organising in education will be a theme of the forthcoming Notts SOS conference on 15th January 2011.

See also: Nottingham Students Against Fees and Cuts! Press release: Students expose Vice Chancellor’s regressive views and University’s lies and Notts Black Arrow: Nottingham Against Austerity

Parents against student debt - sign held on London anti-fees protest on 9 December 2010
Parents against student debt - sign held on London anti-fees protest on 9 December 2010

Corporate tax campaigners close Vodafone in Nottingham again and protest at (and in) other shops [plus videos]

Protesters inside Boots at Victoria Centre Nottingham on day of action by UK Uncut
A large grouping of anti-cuts and corporate tax campaigners from the Trades Council, Notts SOS and swelled immensely by the support of students and education workers on the other anti-cuts and fees protest in town on 4th December 2010, got Vodafone shutters closed down again (one on 3 seperate occasions on Clumber St.) as Nottingham’s contribution to the continuing UK Uncut days of action took place at Clumber Street and all around the city centre. Two Boots stores and Topshop were also targetted. Click on photo to enlarge the walk through one Boots store.

More media, reports, opinions: See photos on NSAFC website. Watch Video of Nottingham protest at one Vodafone shop, at St. Peter’s Gate, on YouTube. Read Notts Trades Council report. Read article and watch video on Notts Indymedia. Read article written for Coalition of Resistance site [Word] [PDF].

It should be noted that the recent bailout in Ireland included keeping corporation tax at present levels but to cut the minimum wage, showing that we are indeed paying for the banking and general capitalist crisis. Cuts, low corparate taxation and low wages are the state solutions to economic crisis and obviously fully endorsed by HMRC. Shareholders are also responsible as their dividends from the profits of these companies are in relation to the money saved on tax avoidance (and from exploiting workers who make the goods or work in their stores). On the same day of this protest it was on the news that Kraft who recently acquired Cadbury are moving a large part of its business operation to Switzerland to avoid paying UK tax showing that this is part of a ongoing strategy by global corporations to avoid tax with the full collusion of governments.

In London: Press release: Flagship Topshop Closed Amid National Protests Against Tax Avoidance. Many more actions took place around the country and are set to continue.

See also: UK Uncut protesters spied upon by undercover police (reported day before, 3rd Dec, Guardian).

Watch Video of Nottingham protest at one Vodafone shop, at St. Peter’s Gate, on YouTube:


Watch Video of March through Nottingham city centre.


See also: George Osbourse tax avoidance song: Georgy Boy (1st of May Band)


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