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.
- Home Secretary and Member of Parliament for Maidenhead
Rt Hon Theresa May MP
- 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.
Joanne Darrant started this petition with a single signature, and won with 49,451 supporters. Start a petition to change something you care about.