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I am a mother of two young children who has attended various protests in the past (the anti Iraq war demo for example). The demonstrations I've attended have always been peaceful. I have even taken my young children to protest. So I was shocked to hear on the radio that the Mayor of London is prepared to fund the purchase of water cannons from Germany to be used by our police force "to respond to public disorder".
The right to protest is a fundamental right of any citizen in a democratic country. The use of water cannons is highly dangerous and can result in serious injury. As with the practice of kettling, water cannons are rarely used against dangerous rioters but as a way of deterring the peaceful protesters from future direct action. When I did some research it didn't take me long to find evidence that water cannons are dangerous. In Germany, where they are used by the police, a 66-year-old man was left blind after being hit by a jet from a water cannon.
The time is now to make sure this doesn't happen. For the police force to be able to use water cannons they must be approved both in England and Wales. I seriously question how their use is going to be properly monitored and how innocent people will be spared from getting hurt. I am sending this petition in as a consultation response but need as many people as possible to sign before I do.
It is our right to take to the streets in a peaceful demonstration of our frustration or dissatisfaction about political events, without fear of being harmed. Please support this petition to make sure we don't end up with peaceful demonstrations being turned into life ruining situations for decent ordinary people.
Thanks for your support - together we can make a change for the better.
Theresa May, Home Office
Please refuse to allow the use of water cannons by any Police force across England and Wales to deal with anticipated street protests. The use of water cannons are highly dangerous as highlighted by injuries caused to civilians in countries that use them. We believe that the use of water cannons contravenes our right to peaceful protest.
The scheduled meeting with Karen Bradley my MP went ahead last Friday. Karen was keen to point out that the purchase of the water cannon was without the consent of Theresa May. She agreed to write a letter to Mrs May to request a meeting to discuss the licensing of water cannons for use in England and Wales. Karen did advise me that it is unlikely that Theresa May herself would agree to meet with me and other representatives from the Notowatercannon group, however the advisors who are assiting Theresa May make a decision on wether to licence the machines probably would. She has also advised that it would be useful to meet with Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe the metropolitan police cheif.
I am now awaiting further communication regarding the outcome of these letters.
Many thanks for your continued support, on Friday afternoon I have a meeting with Karen Bradley my MP to discuss the water cannon issue and the possibility of meeting with Theresa May. This is a positive step forward, although Boris Johnson has bought the machines Theresa May still has to license them. If I can persuade Karen Bradley to help me organise a meeting with Theresa then I have a much better chance of persuading her to listen to your views and to refuse to sanction their use.
Please share this petition on social media before Friday so we can gather more support for the campaign against the use of water cannons in England and Wales.
I will update you next week on what the outcome of the meeting is.
Decision-maker Boris Johnson responds:
Thank you for your email about the petition on Change.Org about the Metropolitan Police.
Following six weeks of public engagement, the Mayor of London has now announced that he has agreed to support the Metropolitan ...
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