Friday Sep 09, 201103:13 PM GMT
UK mulls use of military on London unrest
Tue Aug 9, 2011 7:16AM
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British Home Secretary Theresa May has threatened the use water cannons and even military force to quell widespread protests in London against power abuse by police.


As the British capital witnessed the third night of spreading violence and the evident loss of police control over several parts of London, May said that officers would be allowed to use water cannons.

The decision was soon backed by Former London mayor Ken Livingstone, who believes that police must be allowed to use 'the weapon' to disperse protesters. Livingstone said, “The issue of water cannon would be very useful given the level of arson we are seeing here.”

The so-called 'riot-control weapon,' which shoots a high-pressure stream of water, was employed to control mass protests in Northern Ireland.

May also insisted that in case the police fail to regain control of London streets, the government will consider the option of deploying military forces throughout the city.

Patrick Mercer, the Tory MP and former Army officer, asked the Home Secretary to use water cannons to control the violence that has spread across the capital.

“I find it strange that we are willing to use this sort of measures against the Irish yet when Englishmen step out of line and behave in this atrocious and appalling way, we are happy to mollycoddle them,” said Mercer.

“If the police want cannon then they should be allowed to use them. I have used water cannon myself and I found them extremely effective,” he said.

Several other figures also urged the Home Office to apply the so-called anti-riot weapon, claiming that in some cases cannon use was necessary.

Met Police said in a statement that they used armoured vehicles to push back London protesters on the third night of spreading unrest in London.

Commander Christine Jones, said, "We are using tactics flexibly to respond to the disorder we are still seeing in different areas of the capital. Anyone involved in criminality should be under no illusion that we will pursue you. We have been making arrests all evening and have a team working during the night examining CCTV images. We will follow up evidence in the coming days in order to bring anyone else responsible for criminal acts to justice."

SAB/MB/HE
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