The Truth about Water Cannons

This post was written by Jacob on December 12, 2010
Posted Under: Uncategorized

As many people will have seen, Theresa May is considering the use of water cannons to deal with “rioters” (i.e. protesters) in London. Public opinion on this will probably be under the belief that this just means getting protesters a bit cold and wet so they go home. We must be clear that the use of water cannons is brutal and dangerous, and can result in the following:

This man had his eyes ripped out by suffered severe eye injuries from a water cannon in the protests in Stuttgart against the construction of the Stuttgart 21 train station. The image is taken from Der Spiegel, and has done the rounds in Germany, but is not well-known here in Britain. It is vitally important that we spread good information on the dangers of water cannon use as quickly as possible. Please link to this post wherever you can, retweet it, link to it on facebook, etc. This way we can build a campaign against this tactic.

UPDATE: Theresa May has said that police will be able to use water cannons on future demonstrations.

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Reader Comments

Not convinced I’m afraid. Still seems safer than batons and cavalry charges

Written By Peter Reynolds on December 12th, 2010 @ 10:46 pm

…or shields, truncheons, fists and feet

Written By Peter Reynolds on December 12th, 2010 @ 10:48 pm

Completely agree about water cannons. Can you link a source for “This man had his eyes ripped out”? The original Spiegel International article featuring this image,1518,720735,00.html says only that “more than 400 protestors had suffered eye irritation” and “One 22-year-old protestor [clearly not the man pictured] suffered a serious eye injury after being hit in the right eye by a water cannon jet”. The caption to the picture itself repeats the same information. A Wikipedia caption to the same image mentions “an old man possibly permanently blinded when his eyes were seriously injured by police water cannon” without citing any source.

Written By @adambanksdotcom on December 12th, 2010 @ 10:53 pm

Perhaps the “protesters” (i.e. rioters) should wear goggles.

Any independent verification of this story?

Written By Jaggy on December 12th, 2010 @ 10:55 pm
Written By Reuben on December 12th, 2010 @ 11:00 pm

In answer to @ADAMBANKSDOTCOM – there are numerous sources but they’re all in German. Do a quick google for “Stuttgart Wasserwerfer Auge herausgerissen” (literally Stuttgart Water cannon eye ripped-out.)

Written By Jacob on December 12th, 2010 @ 11:02 pm

Thanks for the quick links to the water cannon victim (I just about read German). Reuben’s link says Wagner’s eyes at the time of the picture were “swollen shut and bleeding”. Information apparently from the hospital is summarised: “As well as suffering major bruising on both sides, Wagner’s eyelids were torn, and on one side, part of his orbital bone – which encases the eye – was fractured. The retina on the same side also suffered suspected damage. The lenses of his eyes were damaged and will need to be replaced by artificial lenses.” A doctor says Wagner is “currently blind and might never have his sight fully restored”.

In no ordinary sense of the words were his “eyes ripped out”. I think an accurate description would make the point of this post more than adequately without resorting to hyperbole.

Written By @adambanksdotcom on December 12th, 2010 @ 11:14 pm

@ADAMBANKSDOTCOM Oh so his eyes weren’t ripped out he was just blinded and potentially wounded to the point where he may never see again or may never have his sight back to the way it was.

I guess that makes water cannons okay.

Written By Frost on December 13th, 2010 @ 12:25 am

Adam, would you prefer “ripped up”?

Written By Reuben on December 13th, 2010 @ 12:27 am

I did say that I agree water cannons are a very bad idea and this picture correctly illustrates why – and didn’t mean to kick off a big argument :) . The point is that accuracy is always important and those on the other side of this debate are only too happy to see “whiny liberals exaggerating again”; why give them the excuse?

I think “This man had his eyes seriously damaged” would cover it. Impressed by the informative responses on this thread.

Written By @adambanksdotcom on December 13th, 2010 @ 12:41 am

Ifeel that water cannons are a great idea. They work when the IRA are causing trouble in NI don’t they? And if these rioters are causing damage to property, disgracing British heroes and dessecrating a memorial of those who died in the cause of our nation than they should be treated no worse that that of terrorists. This is the case as i am sure many of the peaceful protestors, fighting an increase in private investment in a globally slipping education system, have been effectively hijaked by anarchist lunatics who have no respect for those around them. If they don’t want to be shot by water cannons, don’t throw things at police or break away from the legal march route.

Written By Ally on December 13th, 2010 @ 12:49 am

“if these rioters are causing damage to property, disgracing British heroes and dessecrating a memorial of those who died in the cause of our nation than they should be treated no worse that that of terrorists”

Your on the wrong website mate. Try BBC News “have your say”.

Also I think you meant to say “no better” than terrorists, not “no worse”.

Written By Reuben on December 13th, 2010 @ 12:58 am

I am fully aware of what i said. Is this only a website for scialists, where you can condem the workings of a society which keeps you in a job or hands out money to those who cant be bothered? Are the capatalists not allowed to have our say or are you yourself a hypocryte for refusing us the right to free speech. And thanks for the heads up on the word choice.

Written By Ally on December 13th, 2010 @ 1:07 am

Truncheons, fists, feet, cavalry charges AND water cannons are all a completely unacceptable way of dealing with a crowd which (as everyone is so keen to point out) is predominantly made up of peaceful protestors. Let’s please not kid ourselves that they are designed to efficiently deal with a violent minority – used in conjunction with kettling they are used to disrupt protests, cause panic, and dissuade people from future direct action. and @ ALLY: In selling out our right to education to bail out the banks, the government has caused damage to OUR property, disgraced British heroes and dessecrated the memory of those who died in the cause of our nation. If this is indeed tantamount to terrorism, they’d do well to turn the canons on themselves.

Written By Jackie on December 13th, 2010 @ 1:11 am

No, it’s not just a website for socialists. We welcome a very wide range of people who aren’t so deranged that they equate defacing statues with terrorism.

As for free speech:

a) you haven’t been censored.
b) Even if we did, nobody is preventing you starting your own website to promote your opinions.

Written By Reuben on December 13th, 2010 @ 1:13 am

Fighting only occurs when the rioters break from a previously assigned route. If this route is kept too then nothing goes wrong. if the protestors had gone the right way then no fighting would have taken place. @ JACKIE: the education system is getting more money and the students wont have to pay until they are earning over 21,000 and so will be in a position to pay. All it will effect is silly courses in grass management. It is the legacy of a government who told everyone to go to university when not enough funding or places were available, lets hope it results in more skilled workers and apprenticeships being created so we can manufacture things once again.

Written By Ally on December 13th, 2010 @ 1:20 am

These people will be having to pay for the majority of their lives; getting a mortgage, raising a family and retiring EVER are going to be a huge challenge for most people, and will put a huge amount of would-be students with a great deal of promise and capacity to contribute to society off in the first place. “Silly courses in grass management” is a completely uninformed and unhelpful generalisation and completely misses the points that 1. Education has intrinsic worth to society, not just in terms of economic potential, 2. The younger generation have done NOTHING to bring this absurd deficit upon the country, and are yet having their futures sacrificed for it, 3. Money should never be a barrier to education. In response to your other points,
In the digital age many skilled workers can barely find jobs for love nor money ANYWAY (been to the job centre recently?) and won’t be thankful of the competition.
As I mentioned, kettling is usually where the mass disruption starts on these marches, it is a terrifying experience and people deviated from the main protest route to avoid it, it spreads panic, confusion and frustration and incites violence. I’m not denying that some individuals initiate violence, but kettling and aggressive policing of the whole crowd is possibly the worst way of stopping this.

Written By JACKIE on December 13th, 2010 @ 1:41 am
miriam orr

Ally i obviously dont know what Demonstrations you have attended. But i personally have been present on more than i care to mention. I have always found the Police to be extremely Violent bullies. And when a government hired by the people do not agree with its Policies if they be right or wrong the Government has to realize it has to change them or the People will Protest. As it is this Government it not willing to listen and is using Violence against Children and Adults alike. The Education system is being attacked because it is not beneficial for the Powers that be. Better for them we become a nation of Drones. Just literate enough to serve their needs. All of this Coalition Policies all go to the same place and Benefit but the chosen few. what happened to fairness And what about a fair living wage for all

Written By miriam orr on December 13th, 2010 @ 1:52 am

If they cannot pay it off in the future then maybe going to university isnt the best option for them. it should not be the automatic thing to go to university it should be reserved for thouse who have worked exceptionaly hard and if they have then they will get a secure job, at least this was the case before Labour started getting everyone to go to universty.I actually happen to have a friend taking a course in greenkeeping at Langside College.Well im sure we’d all be happy to hear how you will produce this money from nowhere to provide the excellent education you desire? Let me guess, not lend to banks on whom our economy is based? the country is based on services, insurance and banking- lose the banks and we have nothing. No money, no security, no education. during the protests what came first the riots or the kettle? Did they want to avoid one by walking into a sealed off square? i think not. the vote has been cast the police officers injured and lets hope they never have the chance to dessecrate our national monuments again. it doesnt promote prtest by breaking things, i have a large group of supporters who think even less of fellow students after the latest wave of violence shook our great nations capital.

Written By Ally on December 13th, 2010 @ 2:00 am

“great nation?” I think not!

Written By Rich on December 13th, 2010 @ 2:47 am

Ally, you’re a victim of government misinformation. The new tuition fees scheme does not save the taxpayer a single penny. Quite the opposite. There is now some fairly detailed research on the subject. The new tuition fees scheme will add £13 billion to public sector net debt by 2015/16.
The new system is unsustainable as too many people won’t manage to pay back. And guess who’s going to fork out? The taxpayer, of course.

As for “Fighting only occurs when the rioters break from a previously assigned route“, I’m sorry but nothing justifies whacking girls when they’re already on the floor or pulling a disabled demonstrator from his wheelchair and dragging him around TWICE. Sorry. I don’t excuse some hot-headed demonstrators with attention-seeking disorders. And there were some (though a tiny minority).

But from the police I expect better. They are trained people. They are supposed to represent the law. Their behaviour in recent years has too often been an insult to British democracy (see the Ian Tomlinson case for instance).

Written By Claude on December 13th, 2010 @ 6:16 am
Daniel Grant

No. Don’t do this. Don’t lie and twist the facts, it makes you as bad as the rest of them!
I can find NO evidence anywhere of a man having his eyes ripped out. You are just making up nonsense in order to sensationalise the story.
A responsible reporter only ever deals in facts and always cites his/her sources. This is the sort of nonsense I would expect to read in a mainstream newspaper, not a website dedicated to delivering ‘the truth’.
As somebody earlier pointed out: I think you’re on the wrong website, try the BBC.

Written By Daniel Grant on December 13th, 2010 @ 10:06 am
anita lillis

@Ally – “Well im sure we’d all be happy to hear how you will produce this money from nowhere to provide the excellent education you desire”…The money can certainly be found from ‘somewhere’. How about the Government insists on collecting all the corporate tax it is owed…Vodafone, Top Shop etc. It’s all over the news. You must have heard about it??? It’s quite a lot of money, you know. Should sort us all out for a bit. There is also the option of a tax on banks, who got us into this mess in the first place, remember. Orrrr…how about cutting the banks’ CEO’s bonues????

As for the violence at demonstrations…without a doubt, the police have a hard job of it out there, but marauding into a wall of protestors raining truncheon blows on top of their heads indiscriminately is hardly humane. So statues have been daubed and windows broken. They are only ‘things’ and the damage is nothing in comparison to the damage that the tax cuts will have on the people of this nation. People are losing their jobs and being forced onto benefits, and then they’re told that they have to look for work that doesn’t exist in order to be entitled to that meagre hand out, and if they continue to be unemployed they will have to take ‘unpaid work’…hmmmm….and they’re losing their homes because they can’t afford the mortages but there’s a pitiful amount of social housing available because Maggie Thatcher sold them off in the 80s and they haven’t been replaced, so families are forced into substandard temporary accommodation…sometimes hostels alongside alcoholics and drug dependants…and sex offenders released from prison…
And now the coalition Government has put in place a stategy to ensure that future generations cannot educate their way out of this mess unless they come from a wealthy family. This decision was made by 2 parties when one of those gained votes on the promise that this would NOT happen. “If they cannot pay it off in the future then maybe going to university isnt the best option for them.” My god, man, you sound like a proper Tory!!!

Final point…the war memorial. A monument erected to all the brave men and women who fought and died in wars, for us. My own grandad fought in some of those wars and I know that he will be turning in his grave right now at what this Government is doing to this island of ours.

Written By anita lillis on December 13th, 2010 @ 10:30 am

I still think water cannnons have got to be better than cavalry charges. There has to be a better solution in the 21st century than a massed assault of 12th century mounted men-at-arms charging at (relatively) unarmed opposition!!

Why the ludicrous attacks on the BBC? In an age when the media is in partnership with politicians as part of a self-serving oligarchy, the BBC is the only media outlet required to be balanced and is the very best of a bad lot at delivering the news.

There is a(dreadful in the early stages) complaints system that will look at lack of coverage, bias, etc. No other media owner even pretends to do this.

The BBC is a national treasure that we should defend at all costs.

Written By Peter Reynolds on December 13th, 2010 @ 10:46 am


University is not for people who have worked exceptionally hard. That means the thickest people could attend as long they put the hours in. Uni is for people who are exceptionally clever, they may be lazy, probably do a lot better if they’re not. (a lack of) Intelligence can be compensated for by hard work, but not entirely.

Also when democracy doesn’t work (which it clearly doesn’t, the only reason the coalition exists is because the lib dems gained seats by lying to the electorate) violent protest it perfectly acceptable.
Its the reason americans have the right to bear arms (not that they would ever be able to over-throw their government these days, but that was the intent).

Or you could just wait fives years having the piss taken out of you by publicly educated liars who will never have to worry about such issues.

Are you a mug?

Written By steve on December 13th, 2010 @ 11:41 am

@ rich.
you don’t think this nation is so great? go live in america where guantanamo bay is an option for civil disobedience, or perhaps china? india? uganda?
maybe this emerald isle has faults, but it’s what we got and people are fighting to keep the best bits. don’t like it? take a stand. lead, follow, or get out of the way.

Written By Dee on December 13th, 2010 @ 12:37 pm

Ally, #19 – Langside College is not a university. As far as I can see it does not offer degrees. Have you ever set foot in a university?

Written By Bob on December 13th, 2010 @ 12:52 pm


“it should not be the automatic thing to go to university it should be reserved for thouse who have worked exceptionaly hard and if they have then they will get a secure job”

Perhaps this isn’t relevant to the discussion as I live in America, but I went to university. Five years after graduation, I have yet to find employment. My husband’s job is secure only because he works for the state government and thus can’t be laid off. A university degree does not automatically equal a secure job.

Written By Allison on December 13th, 2010 @ 1:00 pm

I hear lots of complaints but given that there is always an unidentifiable minorety who think that wanton destruction of public propertyis an acceptavle form of protest, how would you suggest that these things are policed. I heard watercannons were approved and thats how I found this page. I don’t agree with them. Yet, I see footage of people in Violent Protest and think the idea that you can say “give us what we want or we’ll trash the place” is bullying on a very base level. At least theres no SPG back…..yet

Written By Mike on December 13th, 2010 @ 1:29 pm

Ally: Thursday’s march did not exactly “leave its assigned route” – Parliament Square was halfway along the agreed route, and the police had blocked the Whitehall exit (the next step on the agreed route), making it impossible to leave legally. So we didn’t complete the agreed route, but we didn’t leave it either – we just got stuck halfway along.

After being stuck in there for a while and getting very over-crowded, people tore down the fences around the central green area of the square, to make more room as we were obviously going to be staying there a while. That’s what the police seem to be talking about when they say we left the route – technically accurate, as the central area of the square was not on the route, only the east and north sides.

Written By Denny on December 13th, 2010 @ 1:50 pm

Well it’s going to be a while before we see water cannon being deployed on the mainland as the mainland forces don’t have any and they would need to lease them from the Police Service of Northern Ireland, and at a time of budget cuts that just wouldn’t make sense.

Plus the police view the problem as small violent groups contained within the general protest that egg the crowd on but run off as soon as the police zero in on them. Sir Hugh Orde speaking in the daily mail said:

‘The tactics used over the last week have been that small groups of very violent people have embedded themselves in large groups of very peaceful people and to try to use water cannon in that situation would be very difficult and would upset an awful lot of people.’

Read more:

Plus having water cannon available doesn’t mean that it would be used. It would be up to the Gold commander in charge of the operation to decide and defend the use of water cannon as he/she would have to do if baton rounds where used, not a mediocre knee-jerking Home Secretary.

Written By Mike on December 13th, 2010 @ 3:22 pm

‘If they cannot pay it off in the future then maybe going to university isnt the best option for them.’ How will we know whether or not we’ll be able to pay off our massive debts? our futures are increasingly uncertain. We believed we would be entitled to the same free or subsidised education that generations preceding us have had, yet despite having voted to ensure this would be the case, we find that the generations before us are holding us financially responsible for their mistakes. I am predicted an a and three b’s in my a’levels, i hope this justifies my aspiration to further my education, i am seriously rethinking my life plans since thursday’s vote.. Never having been in any debt, the thought of running up about 40,000′s worth before i’m even off the starting blocks makes me feel highly anxious, defeated and tired. We have been betrayed by the people who we voted in to protect our interests, THEY have deviated from the agreed route. To try to supress our protests with the threat of violent and indescriminate force is to act illegally against the children of our nation who have, already, been wronged. No water cannons, No baton charges, No police stampedes.

Written By holly on December 13th, 2010 @ 5:06 pm
anita lillis

Very well said, Holly.

Written By anita lillis on December 13th, 2010 @ 6:07 pm

wow, the guy on the right is h.o.t.

No wonder they used a water cannon, had to cool that momma down.

mmm hmmmmm

Written By fa on December 13th, 2010 @ 7:46 pm

Its a shame that our (once) great nation has come to this.
1) Peaceful protests are interrupted by police terror tactics- kettling adults and children as 12 for many hours in near zero temperatures.
2) “Bomb Proof” windows at the treasury building smashed in by kids with sticks.
3) The mainstream media ignoring the peaceful protests,and delighting in telling stories with little basis in fact.
4) Students believing this to be a progressive nation where we would all be granted the same rights as the previous generation being told, “actually, we flucked up, so now most of you wont be able to go to university anymore”

I could go on, but its making me depressed…..

Written By Luke on December 13th, 2010 @ 9:31 pm
cavall de quer

Cavalry charges are not a good use (not that there are any “good” uses) of horses and water cannon are not a good use of that precious resource, water. Neither should be harnessed to forward the causes of suppressing protests. I can’t believe I’m reading about England in these reports……….

Written By cavall de quer on December 13th, 2010 @ 9:54 pm

Regardless of whether or not hyperbole was used, would like to end up like the dude in the picture?

Personally, I think the police should just tell the peaceful protesters to sort the violent ones out themselves. Then people would think twice before doing stupid things, as beating random people with batons, and using in discriminatory methods such as water cannons are very counter-productive. Such methods lower the police to the level of highly-paid thugs.

As a high school student, things are looking grim. I aspire to be a musician, however, I did the “smart” thing and decided to go to university as a safe backup plan. I’ve been told that I can’t be a musician, as that would be a waste for my grades, but the chances of me being able to go to uni and then get a job to pay it off are slim.

So, if I choose to be a musician, even if I don’t make it, and end up playing in clubs, I’m still just as well-off as if I go to university and get the best job available.

Ok, my comment wasn’t very well structured, and excuse me if I was mis-informed, but that’s what it looks like from here. And if it looks like that to one of the brighter students (I have a high grade average) then what must it be like for your average run-of-the-mill student?

Written By DomiKko on December 13th, 2010 @ 10:29 pm

yes, the protesters should not have deviated from the agreed route, but the police were just looking for an excuse to be violent. The protesters clearly were not a threat to anyone until the kettling began. Deviating from an agreed route does not justifying hitting young girls, pulling someone of their wheelchair, and nearly beating a boy to death.

I am really starting to hate this country, and the idiots who claim anything that they disagree with as ‘socialist’

Written By david anthony on December 13th, 2010 @ 11:22 pm
Alan? Alan.

Too many people go to University. But no one should be denied the right. This wasn’t a mistake in terms of policy from the last Govt. they appear to have continued to encourage University attendance in light of what appeared to be continued global economic boom. It’s hard to predict the future. Unless you’re Jeebus.

However, it appears that we’re approaching a situaation of trying to spend what we don’t have.

The truth is that the global business of our Universities now rivals the more traditional degree education function, particularly in fiscal terms at least.

Answer: tell Cambridge, Oxford and the LSE that they can mainly just take foreign students (even more so than currently), luring them in with the most shiny object available in the 21st century (Cambridge/Oxford/Yale/Harvard status symbol) and taking their yen/yuan/dollar/euro…

Then the other (real life!) Universities can get on with producing talented young people for our future.

Also, dicks like Cameron, Boris, Osbourne et al can still go to Oxbridge. Might help keep them out of the way for a bit anyway. Who’s with me?!

Written By Alan? Alan. on December 13th, 2010 @ 11:41 pm

If all our troops weren’t deployed fighting terrorists abroad, they would be ideal to deploy at riots like this. The Para’s, Royal Marines and some tanks would have sorted out these pathetic yobs no problem.

University should be an elite institution. All the last government did is devalue the worth of a degree and falsely raise the hopes and debts of people only fit to clean toilets.

Written By Dave on December 13th, 2010 @ 11:57 pm

This entire debacle, the financial blackhole we’re in and the current situation regarding education and funding is the fault of the last government and, IMHO, the coalition is as much a victim as the people of Britain.

All we seem to hear these days is ‘The current government are idiot who are determined to tax us all to death’ but how are they supposed to get us out of the biggest debt crisis we’ve ever known? I don’t like what the cuts are going to do to me and my family but what the hell people, we either suck it up and sort it out or the entire country goes down the pan.

As for the use of water cannons, it’s standard practice these days for anyone connected with a violent protest to blame ‘the tiny minority’, they should know by now that minority are going to turn out to cause trouble – work WITH the police to weed out the troublemakers and you further validate the point you’re trying to make. All the events of last week have done is to make British students look thuggish and stupid in the eyes of the ordinary people of Britain.

If it takes the use (or even the threat of use) of water cannons then so be it, as a nation we cannot allow anyone with an axe to grind to resort to violence to, allegedly, prove their point and if it puts a stop to mass marches then find another, more effective, way to make your point.

On a similar note, I was watching TV coverage of the first march and spotted a whole group of students waving placards bearing the message “Here we come Tory scum” – not a very convincing argument against cuts I’m sure you’ll agree…

Written By Chris on December 14th, 2010 @ 11:19 am

Ally, thank goodness someone is talking some sense in all this nonsense.
I agree with everything youve said.
Reuben youre living in the dark ages! You dont seem to get it at all do you. Sit down and think very hard and maybe you might be able to understand, instead of just throwing insults at the people who butter your bread!
These rioters should be dealt with like anyone else who causes criminal damage to our capital city and then while they are wet and cold and boxed into a pen lets talk.

Written By Nigel on December 14th, 2010 @ 11:20 am

It’s just lazy policing done on the cheap, and a bit like using a hammer to crack a nut.

As always, the state holds the ultimate sanction when it comes to violence and there is very little that a crowd of rioters can do in comparison to the kind of police state we’re letting the UK become.

As always, the actions of a tiny minority seem to be used as a justification for ever increasing attacks on our collective freedoms. For example, how many active and committed terrorists do you think there actually are in the world (more or less that at the height of the ‘troubles’)- enough to justify the controls imposed on our freedoms to communicate and travel? What about crime? Worse and more violent than 50 years ago? Actually much less on both counts compared to the 1950s. Adequate justification for having more CCTV camera’s per head than any other country in the world? At the same time, we’re about to lose the forensic police service, who use real detection techniques to solve crimes, purley on the basis of this need to drive down costs.

I’m not sure about this financial black hole business as it seems to be a mask for politically motivated spending cuts, but if you want to put your trust in politicians, that’s up to you.

Written By Dave on December 14th, 2010 @ 1:09 pm

Figures actually suggest that, as a proportion of GDP, public sector debt is low in comparison with all decades prior to the 1990s.

Written By Jack on December 14th, 2010 @ 1:21 pm

Dave, what do you suggest we do then? How do we police rioters? Do you allow them to run through our streets making a mockery of everything we as civilized human beings hold dear in the name of free speech.
Its very easy to criticize but nobody actually comes up with a solution.
The country is very nearly broke and sticking your head in the sand and denying it is clearly insane. Ireland are now paying the price for doing just that so lets open our eyes and see whats actually happening here.
Its very simple in my mind…..I’m not denying the students their right to protest as long as they PROTEST and not RIOT.

Written By Nigel on December 14th, 2010 @ 2:08 pm

Re #29 Denny
Hi Denny your point is valid up to the point where you try to justify vandalism and desecration of our capital city monuments. Please don’t forget the monuments that the rioters urinated on and sprayed paint on represent amazing people who have fought for the right of free speach and have made it possible for the rioters to voice their opion in the first place. Only talking orchestrated a deal with Northern Ireland, only talking will produce a deal with the Taliban so what makes you think pissing on a statue will get you anywhere ?

Written By Nigel on December 14th, 2010 @ 7:51 pm

Firstly, the fact that everyone is know calling them riots I think has shown that they have now detracted from what they were originally. Demonstrations of protest against an unpopular government proposal.

Secondly it’s clear that the police will use excessive force where needed to deal with the situation at hand. Whether it’s seen as excessive or not, is not the point. If it is going to turn into a riot “again” and the chances are it will and you don’t want to get hurt (picture above is a good example) then don’t go? If you don’t want to be twatted witha shield ect then don’t go? Find an alternative. Riots have not worked in recent history that well. Just look at France, Greece, Rome and now our own.

Written By Mat on December 15th, 2010 @ 2:44 am

Whilst Im sure there has been a very small percentage of injuries incurred by the use of water cannons, Im sure that percentage is considerably less than that of people being injured by having; fire extinguishers thrown off roofs at them, snooker balls thrown, paint balls thrown, rocks/bricks thrown, etc etc….

Water cannons SHOULD be used as crowd control when the crowd is putting peoples lives in danger. Simple.

Written By sam on December 15th, 2010 @ 10:09 am

battons aimed at their knees, men with helmets and shields used to knock them over, horses charged at them, arms twisted up behind their backs, crushed into small spaces and held against their will in the freezing cold…………….. and mat if we allow them to undermine our right to protest with the threat of violence then we may as well be pissing on statues. not that the statues are really bothered. in urine is a lot easier to clear than 40,000 of debt.

Written By holly on December 15th, 2010 @ 12:51 pm

battons aimed at their knees, men with helmets and shields used to knock them over, horses charged at them, arms twisted up behind their backs, crushed into small spaces and held against their will in the freezing cold…………….. and mat if we allow them to undermine our right to protest with the threat of overwhelming violence then we may as well be pissing on statues. not that the statues are really bothered. urine is a lot easier to clear than 40,000 of debt.

Written By holly on December 15th, 2010 @ 12:52 pm

Holly and I’m not saying don’t protest, I’m trying to say find another more effective way that maybe does not bathe the protesters in a bad light by the press to the masses?

Written By Mat on December 15th, 2010 @ 2:30 pm
Oliver Smith

I think you students are lucky, personally, I’d have had any protesters shot, especially students

Written By Oliver Smith on December 15th, 2010 @ 3:17 pm

‘Whether it’s seen as excessive or not, is not the point. If it is going to turn into a riot “again” and the chances are it will and you don’t want to get hurt (picture above is a good example) then don’t go?’ i think we all know who turns it into a ‘riot’ and it definitely looked to me like you were saying don’t go. what other way do you suggest? The only people who are going to hurt us are the police. There are a few idiots amongst us but sure, there always will be, no getting away from that, but the police are clearly the more organized force with the far greater access to weaponry, both legally and physically. They can choose whether to escalate or de-escalate the problem and which do they choose? surely as taxpayers are paying for their presence they at least owe it to us to approach these situations from the perspective of conflict resolution? Have we not evolved that far? One of the jobs i could get without a degree is as a police officer as it goes, i think that says it all. WE NEED BETTER EDUCATION. URGENTLY.

Written By holly on December 15th, 2010 @ 5:07 pm

Re: Holly. Yes, we all do, because the police are setting fire to cars, throwing projectiles and smathing up private property. just in case you hadn’t realised this is of course sacrcasm, the rioters were the ones doing this. They were wearing balaclavas, pissing on statues and burning things? This isn’t student potest this is anarchy and i am ashamed that i share a country with these yobs. If it was the police who started it then why would they rioters have brought balaclavas? and in reference to the comment on the relevance of piss, it’s not about cleaning it off it’s about the principle that he was a man who led us to victory though our darkest days and now he is being mocked. Your fight isn’t with Churchill or the Royal family so don’t dessecrate such national icons. Shame on you.

Written By Ally on December 15th, 2010 @ 5:44 pm

You don’t seem to understand, do you rearly think that all police are just bullies! Isn’t it more plausible that they might just be protecting the city from the vandals and rioters who are hell bent on causing anarchy. You suggest that you could get a police job without a degree and that is probably true but it’s the amazing bravery of our armed forces and police that keep your country a safe place to live in. Only when you are that brave can you criticise others.

Written By Nigel on December 15th, 2010 @ 5:51 pm

Ally thank goodness someone is talking sense, I loved your comment.
Holly If you read all of these comments the majority of people are saying that they are angry with the rioters for what they did, you are loosing the pr battle guys, open your eyes and listen to what people are saying! If you riot you will be punished!!! It’s the same rule for everyone don’t try to justify rioting with politics…. Just don’t riot.

Written By Nigel on December 15th, 2010 @ 6:13 pm

Not all police wear uniform, they can wear balaclavas too. Yes i agree about Churchill, perhaps somebody was using his statue to make the point that the freedoms that he stood for are now being pissed on?(it’s about the principle that he was a man who led us to victory though our darkest days and now he is being mocked.’ – good point, exactly) The driver of the Royal Carriage really ought to have seen the situation he was driving the couple into, perhaps if the police we pay to protect us could get into the habit of having their radios on the same frequencies they’d have been better equipped to defend them after they made what was clearly a very risky decision. The bravery of the helmetted, shielded, batton wielding adults against the teenage girls is it? Shame on me? I’m wasting my time.

Written By Holly on December 15th, 2010 @ 6:39 pm

Holly I can’t believe your blaming the driver of the royal car and the police for putting the royal couple in danger, I suppose it’s their fault for trying to go about their moral daily life, that’s like suggesting it was thousands of office workers fault for being in the twin towers that day . Maybe you can tell the “teenage girls” from me that we will not put up with them throwing rocks we will not put up with smashing windows and we do not listen to rioters. The police wear shields and helmets because you throw rocks at them ! If you didn’t they wouldn’t.
It’s a shame that a decent cause has been hijacked by rioters but you need to eliminate that section from your ranks before you can expect any reasonable dialogue.
PS where are all these “teenage girls” parents anyway and why aren’t they clipping their ears.

Written By Nigel on December 15th, 2010 @ 7:21 pm

“PS where are all these “teenage girls” parents anyway and why aren’t they clipping their ears”

Thank you! Common sense suggests parents who let their teenage children join a protest/riot are just as bad as the police who “batter them” yes?

Written By Mat on December 15th, 2010 @ 9:26 pm

Of course Mat – responsible parents should keep their children at home and discourage them from standing up for what they believe in or taking a political stand because ‘it’s dangerous’. Obviously that’s the best way to bring up children who will care about the world around them… or not.

I don’t agree with the protestors either but I don’t think someone who’d stop their kid going to a protest on something they believed in is fit to be a parent.

Written By Majeed on December 17th, 2010 @ 9:49 am

Majeed- I think that I would be inclined to keep my children at home if I knew that there was going to be violence. The rioters came out with weapons and balaclavas! Sending children into that kind of environment is dangerous for th child and it is your responsibility to keep them safe from harm. If you wish your children to go into such hostile places with extremists then i think it would be best if you contacted social services for their sake.

Written By Ally on December 17th, 2010 @ 12:53 pm

Not convincved. They should have thought about that before they were idiots. Sorry, actions have consequences, they will be given every opportunity to return home before cannons are used but after that, bloody go for it! Innocent people will be hurt and then they’ll wish they controlled it with water and not bullets.

Written By Skyler on August 8th, 2011 @ 7:12 pm

SKYLER, #62, I think I arrived to this site for the same reasons you just did… look closer, they are talking about December 2010′s demonstrations. The article itself is 2010′s.

PEOPLE OF THE PRESENT LONDON: Consider you will be discussing over recent RIOTS. I think nobody could sustain the idea of these being proper and justifiable demonstrations.


Written By CJ on August 9th, 2011 @ 4:41 pm

While I agree about the use of water cannons, I fundamentally disagree with your framing of the story. To throw rioters into quotation marks and suggest they are in fact protesters is grossly offensive in light of even a shred of evidence on the ground in these places.

These people are looters. Common criminals. The only thing they are protesting is their lack of 42 inch plasma tv’s.

Written By James on August 10th, 2011 @ 1:16 pm

I cannot believe your trying to campaign against this with whats going on over here? How utterly ridiculous. You stupid, stupid person. We need tactics like this to save our country you utter moron! BRING IN THE CANNONS! Anyone that gets injured had it bloody coming anyway by causing the distress and damage that they have done. It would be well deserved,

Written By Yas on August 10th, 2011 @ 1:20 pm

Don’t think the biggest problem with using water-cannons has been mentioned.

They are a tool which is used to disperse crowds, not control them. The whole point of them is they clear areas to be made sterile. Now from everything I’ve seen over the last few days one of the biggest problems the police have had is that the rioters disperse quickly and turn up else where. If you take that assumption on board water cannons will just create more dispersal and make it harder for policing to take place.

Written By Lucas on August 10th, 2011 @ 1:32 pm

First sentence fail: “(i.e protesters)”

These aren’t protesters; they have no cause to protest for or against. They are simple-minded thugs. If people who set out to burn down shops, businesses, children’s hospitals, people’s homes, people’s cars, people’s livelihoods come away with just losing their sight, they’ve still been let off in my opinion. Is it a good thing? Not at all; but lots of blind or visually-challenged people lead very happy and well-supported lives and it’s more of a disgrace for this article to suggest that it’s a bad thing.

Written By Taurus on August 10th, 2011 @ 1:49 pm

Protestors? You mean idiotic kids acting like thugs? These 14-20 year olds are just taking advantage of a situation that got out of hand and performing copy cat crimes. They deserve all they get

Written By Lee on August 10th, 2011 @ 1:59 pm

Clearly, we must save INNOCENT PROTESTORS for human rights’ sake.

* Water cannons can damage their HEALTH.
* Will disrupt their overall PEACE-keeping agenda.
* HURT protestros cannot efficiently help in damaging country’s assets – burning buildings, looting shops etc.
* Shopkeepers might just go crazy by doing the WORST possible thing – selling their items/do their jobs righteously.
* Civilians can just be NOT SCARED and walk around freely without locking themselves in, having a day off or five from work or trying to save their families, valuables while paying an appropriate mortgage / insurance cost.
* Nevermind the neighbourhood CLEAN UP; it looks better messy, with broken glasses and burnt buildings. We can alwyas hire someone new to clean it up.

Actually we can save the protestors off the terirble punishment of water cannons and actually contribute to sort out all of the above by paying an increased the overall tax, WE ARE FINE WITH +10% EACH.

Written By Dave on August 10th, 2011 @ 5:30 pm

We’ve been using Water Cannons in NI for years without problems. I hope all you bloody Bunny hugging Pinkies get mugged and beaten, perhaps then you’ll change your minds?

Written By Nelson on August 10th, 2011 @ 5:43 pm

But remember – spraying water cannons to stop the London riots won’t be an overblown and excessive method of dispersing a crowd of people protesting a cause – it will be a perfectly balanced method of stopping a baying mob of hoodlums burning down people’s homes and looting electronics stores for absolutely no reason at all.

It would be an appropriate response.

If some twat gets his eyes ripped off by a water cannon – maybe he will question what he was doing inside the panasonic store at 5am trying to steal a 32 inch plasma screen.

Written By Matt on August 10th, 2011 @ 6:32 pm

The old guy’s eyes weren’t “ripped out”, he suffered torn retinas and a broken orbital bone. One of his eyes is impaired, the other is blind. However, if you’re stupid enough to walk up to a water cannon and wave, you’re stupid enough to take it in the face. I personally don’t agree with the deployment of water cannons in this situation, idiots calling for them don’t understand their use.

Water cannons are only good for DEFENDING specific places, which is why they were used in protests of sites and demonstrations against specific places (i.e. N Ireland). They are loud, obvious and very slow. They’re great at keeping people back but in London it will just scare people off into splintering into smaller groups in 10 different directions and causing more trouble. You can’t put one on every corner.

tl,dr; moron sustained injuries from his own stupidity. Lefty morons think that the police should walk up to rioters and help them carry their stolen goods.

Written By Lee Sage on August 10th, 2011 @ 6:41 pm

Who cares?
Just stay home or go away if your demonstration turns violent.
There are ways that you can express yourself, peacefuly.
Use your brain and remember you have just one life, live it.
Remember about your family. They will miss you and I don’t want to pay you a penny from my taxes if you turn disabled.
Stay safe.

Written By rad on August 10th, 2011 @ 8:11 pm

Good! I’d like to know that water cannon can rip the heart and guts of this scums out.

Philistines like you don’t have a clue on what happening in the world. These scums would murder you for five quids and they don’t give a toss about you or your family.

Written By Faiz on August 10th, 2011 @ 8:14 pm

BUNNY “We’ve been using Water Cannons in NI for years without problems.”

Without problems? They’ve been absolutely useless in preventing or stopping anything in the six Counties. Show me one country where Water Cannon or rubber bullets have helped a settlement be achieved. They have always been, and always will be the weapons of Dictators and Governments who are running scared….like Cameron/Clegg’s government!

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Written By all day long lyrics on January 17th, 2013 @ 9:06 am

For those commenting above, praising our wonderful BBC news coverage… maybe once but not for a long time. Not worth the licence fee, pathetic biased coverage. Don’t trust what they broadcast…

Written By Vic on January 22nd, 2014 @ 10:10 pm

Although I dont agree with watercannons, I have a question.
How many of you have, in the past, come on the web and said that the use of watercannons in Northern Ireland is wrong? To get angry and worried that watercannons may be used in your part of britian, yet say nothing throughout the years when they are used in another part of britian sounds a little like “not in my back yard”

Written By peat on January 23rd, 2014 @ 11:20 am

A lot of comments. I understand people don’t like violence, but the police is a violent faction. So don’t defend the police, ever. They arrive in full battle gear, ready for war. As a ex-soldier, I will take them up on their invitation. Water Cannon, the last word ‘Cannon’. Education topic, I wish, guess I haven’t worked hard enough. I’m yet to find a cause to riot, but when I do, I will, hard. You all pay taxes, so people hurt others on your behalf. You hurt others. FULLSTOP Peaceful my ass. I will smash and fight for what ever right I feel is mine, you pay the police to fight me to save your right to a civilised nation. BS. I can’t be this slave everyone tells me to be. Solution, stop paying taxes, end this madness now. UK burn.

Written By Solomon on January 27th, 2014 @ 9:51 pm


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