Brexit protests off to a bad start following UKIP leader’s ludicrous claim about police tactics

Water cannon and Gerard Batten
Glen Black

UKIP leader Gerard Batten claimed a water cannon “may be” deployed in London during pro-Brexit protests on 29 March. But people ridiculed his claim after reminding him that the city doesn’t have any water cannons. Even the Metropolitan Police got stuck in.

Scrapped and banned

Police allegedly prepared for disorder at pro-Brexit protests on 29 March – the UK’s original deadline for leaving the EU. As a result, Batten warned on Twitter that the Metropolitan Police might bring water cannons out against protesters:

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But London’s water cannons were scrapped in 2018. In fact, the Metropolitan police never even used them. And it didn’t take long for people to point out this gaping hole in Batten’s claim:

Pro-Brexit Twitter users also questioned Batten’s statement:

At the same time, others explained that Theresa May banned the use of water cannons in 2015:

Meanwhile, the Metropolitan Police was curt with its response:

Although let’s not forget that the Metropolitan Police were, at the time, “disappointed” by May’s ban on water cannons.

Aggregate

People also laughed at the UKIP leader for more than just his water cannon claim. Many wondered how police might “aggregate” protesters:

Meanwhile, some posted other ‘reports’ of crowd control methods the police could use:

Incompetence

Brexit Day‘ protests were organised in the capital by a number of groups, including former UKIP leader Nigel Farage’s group Leave Means Leave. UKIP itself promoted the ‘Make Brexit Happen’ rally in London. But the party’s growing links to the far-right, led by Batten, have caused tension amongst the pro-Brexit movement.

It’s easy mock Batten for his inept statements. And we should all take an opportunity for laughter in these chaotic times. But let’s not forget that parliament itself hasn’t been any more competent in resolving the Brexit mess.

Featured image via The Guardian/Youtube and Derek Bennet/Flickr

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