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"People of Britain, beware of the German water cannon"

“Water cannons are highly dangerous ranged weapons, which can cause extremely serious  injuries. Despite this, the German Federal Ministry of the Interior intends to sell off old stocks to European governments, in order to create space for new equipment with even higher water pressure. This upgrading of the arsenal used to respond to the expected austerity protests is unacceptable”, said Member of the Bundestag Andrej Hunko, in reaction to a reply from the Federal Government to a minor interpellation.

The German police forces at federal and Länder level are now equipping their forces with the new “WaWe 10000” water cannon from the Austrian firm Rosenbauer. The city of London has bought three  of the old “WaWe 9000” water cannons. This mobile equipment for combating civil unrest was due to be delivered last week, although it cannot currently be used since the necessary authorisation from the Home Office has not yet been given. The German Ministry of the Interior is asking EUR 113,000 per second-hand water cannon. And there are additional costs of EUR 157,000 for transportation and refitting of the vehicles so that they can be used on the streets of London. The French Interior Ministry has also already viewed second-hand water cannons in Sankt Augustin.

Andrej Hunko continued:

“The London authorities have justified the hasty decision to purchase the equipment on the grounds that it might otherwise be sold to “another European police authority”. I view these remarks as deliberately inflammatory, aimed at justifying the purchase vis-à-vis their own public.

The use of mobile water cannons is controversial in the United Kingdom. For this reason, Members of Parliament invited German pensioner Dietrich Wagner to speak to them, who lost his sight during protests against the “Stuttgart 21” railway station in a police operation later classified as unlawful. The German government is not bothered by this: it is not even responding to criticism from Wagner and from British civil rights groups.

“People of Britain, beware of the water cannon”, Wagner wrote in a British paper. I wholeheartedly support his comments. The export of water cannons represents an unacceptable upgrading of the arsenal used to crush political protests.

I understand from British papers that London Mayor Boris Johnson intends to demonstrate how harmless the water cannons supposedly are by allowing himself to be blasted with water. This is complete nonsense: instead he should allow the cannon to be fired directly into his face at high pressure and then check whether he has any broken bones or has lost his sight“.

Here you can download the answer to the interpellation “The export of second-hand water cannons and their use in combating European austerity protests“: http://www.andrej-hunko.de/start/download/doc_download/478-export-ausge­musterter-wasserwerfer-und-ihr-einsatz-zur-bekaempfung-europaeischer-krisenproteste