Tough measures adopted in Western countries to contain, deter violence in demonstrations

Source: Xinhua| 2019-08-19 20:23:45|Editor: huaxia
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BEIJING, Aug. 19 (Xinhua) -- In some Western countries, tough and comprehensive measures are adopted to contain and deter violence in demonstrations, with goals ranging from seeking an early control of the situation to avoiding violence through precautionary legislation.


In September 2011, anti-riot squads, riot cars, snipers, mounted police were recruited from eight towns to help New York City deal with the Occupy Wall Street movement. Stun batons, taser guns and other devices were used by police to control the situation amid protests, media reports said, and nearly 1,000 people were arrested in two weeks.

Regardless, demands should be expressed in a peaceful fashion, and when demonstrations become radical, police usually choose first to disperse the crowd, noted Li Mingcheng, a retired officer from Los Angeles County, California, speaking from his own experience.

Li said that in dispersing demonstrators, U.S. mounted police usually use water cannons, shields, and smoke bombs among other means. If they fail to put the situation under control, state and federal governments would seek intervention by National Guards.

"It is for coping with serious situations or large-scale demonstrations that National Guards are called in," said Henry Lee, a famous detective and former head of the Connecticut state police. "They would use smoke bombs, tear gas and other devices, and issue urgent orders and sometimes implement a curfew."

Lee said that when confronting violence in demonstrations, state police normally use fire engines and high pressure water jets to disperse the mob and make immediate arrests of leading figures and those who assault police.

When faced with sabotage, "police would immediately arrest anyone who intentionally blocks subway and road traffic," said Hugh H. Mo, former deputy head of New York Police Department (NYPD), citing New York City as an example.

When facing assaults on themselves, police would immediately use force to counter life threats from anyone who is armed, including using batons and handcuffs to fend off and subdue assaulters, Mo added.


In August 2011, protests staged in London evolved into chaos that spread to Manchester, Birmingham, Liverpool, Bristol and other cities. Five people were killed in a week of violence including arsons and lootings before the situation was brought under control.

Media reports said the British authorities beefed up the police force at hotspots with many riot squads, with the police deployed in London alone totaling over 16,000. Police arrested some 4,000 suspects over the time.

British police set up task teams to search for suspects through various means including checking thousands of hours of videos. It took several months to carry out investigations and make arrests, said reports.

Veteran officer Andy Kurdreck said law must be enforced in order to prevent chaos from turning into anarchy, and the perpetrators of assaults on police, including throwing bricks and petrol bombs, should be arrested and punished in accordance with law.

In demonstrations in the United States, people throwing bricks, bottle bombs or carrying out arson attacks that cause serious consequences could face sentences of up to 30 years, Mo said.

Data from the French Interior Ministry showed police arrested some 10,000 people involved in the recent Yellow Vest protests staged on weekends that seriously disrupted social order in France.


The French government has adopted a tough stance in the face of the violent Yellow Vest demonstrations. In February, the National Assembly approved a bill designed to reduce and deter violent acts in demonstrations and to make sure perpetrators will be punished.

The legislation authorizes local governments to ban the people who are believed to pose a serious threat to public security from participating in demonstrations.

It allows the French police to do more in on-site operations. They can now examine vehicles, people's luggage and backpacks at and around demonstration sites, and raise the fine for unauthorized demonstrations.

In addition, it stipulates that people with full or partial face masks for them not to be identified after disrupting public order face up to a one-year sentence and a fine of 15,000 euros (16,600 U.S. dollars).