Monday, 22. December 2014
22. 04. 14. - 13:00
An Austrian manufacturer of a high-tech anti-riot water cannon costing almost 1 million EUR is facing some tough questions after one of the vehicles was badly damaged during a demonstration that involved eggs and tennis balls.
Germany's Interior Ministry has ordered 78 of the "WaWe 10" water cannons which the manufacturer Rosenbauer boasts can tackle the toughest punishment in the most extreme situations.
That was enough for police chiefs in the central German province of Thuringen, who decided to stage a display for the public once they received the first delivery of the new vehicles.
In order to construct the right environment, they equipped their own officers with eggs, tennis balls and half litre plastic bottles filled with water instead of bricks, stones and Molotov cocktails that they might have expected in real life right situation.
Yet the public display backfired badly after the almost harmless ammunition left huge dents in the armoured glass of the 33 tonne vehicle, which comes equipped with a 10,000 litre water tank. The scandal came to light when the police were forced to ask the Interior Ministry for the money to repair the damage. There are three huge dents in the supposedly indestructible polycarbonate glass and answers are being demanded.
The Interior Ministry meanwhile has contacted the Austrian company to demand an explanation on how such lightly armed protesters can cause so much damage to a vehicle that is at the forefront of plans to tackle everything from football vandals to political rioters.
A police spokesman told German Spiegel magazine that despite the damage to the glass the vehicle could still be used but they were now waiting for an expert report to decide whether the glass needed to be replaced in the future.
Since it was delivered to police it has been used three times already, although each time not against anybody who threw anything.
(will be approved by an editor before going online)
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