samedi 23 juin 2012

The Morning Star on the campaign against the use of plastic bullets


MPs join calls to end deadly use of plastic bullets

Thursday 21 June 2012

MPs join calls to end deadly use of plastic bullets
Human rights activists and MPs demanded an absolute prohibition on the use of plastic bullets today as Tory-driven austerity cuts threaten more disturbances in the months and years to come.
Following last summer's riots, the Metropolitan Police has begun to stockpile thousands of the lethal projectiles, which have been responsible for 17 deaths and hundreds of serious injuries in Northern Ireland.
Nine of those killed were children and campaigners warned that if plastic bullets were deployed on the streets of England fatalities would doubtless occur.
The warning followed comments by Britain's top civil servant Jeremy Heywood that the country faced a decade of spending cuts.
The Home Office has made provision for a number of draconian policing measures including the use of baton rounds and water cannon to quell mounting protests and acts of civil disobedience against the brutal cuts programme.
United Campaign Against Plastic Bullets spokeswoman Clara Reilly said that it had been proven that the use of plastic bullets exacerbated tensions rather than calm them.
She said: "It's important for people in Britain to understand the human devastation of the use of plastic bullets in the North of Ireland.
"The majority of victims were killed in incidents where there was no disturbances prior to the use of plastic bullets.
"With ethnic minority communities in Britain experiencing serious difficulties with policing and with increased tensions, the use of plastic bullets, with the inevitable injuries and real potential for fatalities, will light a fire that will be hard to extinguish."
Ms Reilly was joined by Paddy Kelly of the Children's Law Centre and Tottenham-based activist Stafford Scott.
Ms Kelly said the number of plastic bullets fired in Northern Ireland had risen exponentially in the last few years, from 17 in 2009 to 350 fired in one month during the marching season last year.
She warned that with the Met hoarding a stockpile of over 10,000 rounds and growing tensions between police and communities such as Tottenham, it was highly likely that "some young person will be killed by plastic bullets."
Tottenham Defence campaign spokesman Mr Scott said: "The government's policies will cause more unrest on our streets but, rather than dealing with the causes it is looking to quell them with weapons such as these."
SDLP MP for Foyle Mark Durkan told the Star: "People should not be deceived by the soft names given to these lethal weapons.
"The volume in which they have been ordered shows that they are unlikely to be used sparingly."
Labour MPs Jeremy Corbyn and John McDonnell stated that they would raise the issue as a matter of urgency in the commons and added their voices to the call for total prohibition.

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