Kettling is a tactic now widely used by police in the UK, most recently against students protesting against the massive rise in University tuition fees this week. Police in full riot gear will circle a demonstration so that no one in the vicinity of the demonstration can leave for many hours. As a result, people inside the “kettle” go without food and sanitation for hours on end and some will start to panic. If a small number of protestors turn to violence after hours of being kettled, the entire demonstration is implicated in the violence because they can’t leave. This in turn is used to justify the police kettle because they can claim they were a controlling a “riot.” The kettle was notoriously used during the G20 demonstrations in 2009 resulting in many injuries and a death of Ian Thomlinson, a newspaper vendor walking home from work.
“We know what they are up to. We know they don’t think we’re a danger to the public. I’m 15 years old. People there were as young as 13. We know they don’t think we’re going to run riot through the streets of London. We know what they are up to. If they kettle us now, they think we’ll never going to come on a demonstration again.”