The charges of aggravated trespass against the ‘Atos Two’ have been “discontinued”, i.e. dropped, by the CPS.
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 having a pathetically weak case, the CPS and Atos backed down.
Supporters of the ‘Atos Two’ are clear however that this case, described as an attempt to intimidate protesters and deter demonstrations, is not an isolated one.
The arrests of Notts Uncut activists just before Christmas and the confiscation of a photography student’s tapes after he filmed an arrest demonstrate that the local force is changing their attitude towards peaceful protest.
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”.
Furthermore Atos can be expected to remain a focus for local activists campaigning against public sector cuts and attacks on the welfare system.
Jamie Kennedy from the Nottingham Defence Campaign said: “Atos remains committed to make people’s lives a misery and is one of the many examples why we need much more of ‘this sort of thing.’”
There will be a protest against Atos ‘Healthcare’ and police repression on Friday 3rd February 2012 at 12.30pm in Hockley (Nottingham).
For more coverage, see Nottingham Indymedia.