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It would be good to describe the tactic from a general point of view, with less of a focus on the recent G20 protests in London, UK. Kettling has been widely used across Europe for a long time and in the US at least since 2000. The earliest example I could find through a quick search was 1986 in Hamburg, Germany. Kettling has several deveriations, i.e. the 'Wanderkessel' where the police kettle protesters in and then walks with them.

Good point, I have added some examples to try and give this article a more worldwide view. Cnbrb (talk) 12:19, 19 April 2009 (UTC)
Perhaps a bit tenuous, but there's a recorded use of the word to describe a police-cordoned area of the Jewish ghetto in Warsaw, in 1942. --McGeddon (talk) 12:39, 19 April 2009 (UTC)
That's really interesting, thanks. This term seems to have some German origins - the word Kessel is also used for Kesselschlacht which is the military term encirclement. I'd hesitate to include this in the article until a clearer reference to its origins can be found (for fear of writing original research, but it's an interesting trail to follow. Cnbrb (talk) 13:24, 19 April 2009 (UTC)

Food, water, toilets[edit]

The wording in the referenced article is 'Anyone determined to stay - like Ms Trench - may be held for hours, without access to food and water.'. This is clear - whilst those caught within the cordon may or may not be held, if they are held then it is without access to food or water (i.e. the 'may be' qualifies 'held', not 'without access...'.

Then 'During the G20 events, protesters reported having to relieve themselves in the street because they had no access to toilets.' Admittedly this is a less clear-cut, clearly there was no access to toilets at the G20 protests, but the article isn't making a general statement. However I know of no reference regarding kettling where toilets were accessible, so it seems reasonable to me to extrapolate the general in lieu (ha) of references to the contrary. Certainly I know of no instance of kettling where protestors had access to toilets, so I'd be surprised if anyone could find such a reference. SeanLegassick (talk) 22:41, 18 April 2009 (UTC)

Hi. Please allow me to explain: putting in the words "may be" in the intro paragaph was a good faith edit intended to make a small distinction. The intent was to distinguish the bit about food, water & toilets as a consequence of the tactic rather than an integral part of the design. So it would be right to say that while kettling holds lots of people together in one place, they may be prevented from collecting children from creche or going to the bank - this actually happened, but it was not an integral part of the police tactic.

"May be" was not intended to cast any doubt on the story or to suggest it was not important. It just means these things can happen as a result. It's a small point, but I believe it needs a distinction to keep the article as accurate as possible. The BBC story you cite uses the phrase "may be" in exactly the same way.

If you're unhappy with this form of words, perhaps an alternative such as this would work: "Protesters are prevented from leaving the area for several hours; as a result, detainees can be denied access to food, water and toilet facilities for a long period." How does that sound to you? Cnbrb (talk) 10:35, 19 April 2009 (UTC)
That sounds like a reasonable compromise, 'can be' still seems a bit weaker than I would perhaps prefer, as my experience is that the consequence is inevitable rather than contingent, but I do take your point that this is not the central intention of the tactic (though it is certainly a known and inevitable consequence). How about 'are usually' instead of 'can be'? SeanLegassick (talk) 18:38, 19 April 2009 (UTC)
BTW you're doing good work on this article, I wouldn't want you to get too bogged down on this point, ultimately any of the wording variants we've gone through are basically fine IMO. SeanLegassick (talk) 20:18, 19 April 2009 (UTC)
Yes, that's great... and thanks! It's good to get it to a better factual standard as it's a point of discussion now. 09:23, 20 April 2009 (UTC)
Found this : [1] which says that toilets were provided at the G20 protests. "Most expected they would be allowed to go fairly soon, but the delivery of a set of portable toilets perhaps gave us a clue as to what the police had planned." Another interesting article is here [2] which says that people were photographed by Forward Intelligence Teams as they left the kettle. If they refused to give details they were put back in. I think I've read about that happening before too although I'm not sure where. Smartse (talk) 20:25, 19 April 2009 (UTC)
That's interesting - I haven't seen any mention elsewhere or heard from detainees I know about any portable toilets. I'm left wondering what the story is there - the article doesn't specify for instance whether the toilets were inside or outside the ultimate cordon. However given this I'll concede that Cnbrb's more conditional language is probably appropriate. Edit made.
I've also read about FIT requiring photographs/details for protestors to leave kettles at other events, but unfortunately I also can't locate any specific references right now. SeanLegassick (talk) 21:22, 19 April 2009 (UTC)
I've put in the info about them being photographed at the G20 protests. I'll try and find another reference for elsewhere. Smartse (talk) 23:19, 19 April 2009 (UTC)

Wording regarding leaving the kettle during G20 protests[edit]

I'm not going to enter an edit war - surely everyone must have left the kettle at some point - otherwise they'd still be there now. The source says:

"As people were eventually allowed to leave at about 8pm, they were funnelled out down a narrow exit with a police officer grabbing them by the arm as though they were under arrest, again regardless of age or demeanour.One officer, asked why people were not allowed to leave under their own steam, replied: "They might fall over." People were then asked for their name and address and required to have a photograph taken. They are not obliged to do so under the law, but those who refused were put back in the pen."

People couldn't leave the kettle before they were allowed to. Saying "Protesters attempting" also makes it seem as though only certain people were photographed which is not what I think the source is referring to. Please discuss why you think your wording describes the source better. Thanks Smartse (talk) 21:58, 25 May 2009 (UTC)

I think it is better for you to attempt a better edit. Hyper3 (talk) 11:01, 26 May 2009 (UTC)
The article did say "When protesters were allowed to leave the kettle they were photographed by Forward Intelligence Teams and told to give their names and addresses (which they are legally not required to do). Those who refused to give their names were not allowed to leave" This is accurate to the source and I can't see why it needed changing. Hyper3 if you think this better than what is currently there please change it. Smartse (talk) 11:23, 26 May 2009 (UTC)
I like the way wikipedia works - if anyone thinks they have a better edit, they can try it. I'm happy with what is there; if you are not, then change it. That's how the game is played. (By the way, I didn't change the wording, I just moved it to a more relevant section). Hyper3 (talk) 13:42, 26 May 2009 (UTC)
Yeah I know - that's fine. User:Lapsed Pacifist changed the wording, I changed it back with a reason and this was then reverted by them. To avoid an edit war I wanted to discuss it first before changing it back again. I've left a message on User:Lapsed Pacifist's talk page so I'll wait a while to see if they respond. Smartse (talk) 13:56, 26 May 2009 (UTC)
Your version says: "When protesters were allowed to leave the kettle ..." in one sentence and then: "Those who refused to give their names were not allowed to leave..." in the next. It doesn't make sense; first you're saying they were allowed to leave and then you're contradicting yourself. Lapsed Pacifist (talk) 13:20, 27 May 2009 (UTC)
Seems okay to me (protestors were initially allowed to leave, but police changed their mind for individuals who refused to have a photo taken), and it's supported by what the Guardian source says: "As people were eventually allowed to leave at about 8pm, they were funnelled out down a narrow exit [...] People were then asked for their name and address and required to have a photograph taken. They are not obliged to do so under the law, but those who refused were put back in the pen."
Your edit talks about protestors being photographed when they "attempted to leave the kettle", which sounds like it's talking about what happened to protestors who tried to force their way out. The source only talks about the "allowed to leave" situation. --McGeddon (talk) 14:10, 11 August 2009 (UTC)
I don't see why you think it sounds like they were trying to force their way out. Lapsed Pacifist (talk) 14:34, 11 August 2009 (UTC)
How would you attempt to leave a kettle if not by forcing your way out? Smartse (talk) 16:41, 11 August 2009 (UTC)
"How would you attempt to leave a kettle if not by forcing your way out?" You could do what hundreds of others, protesters and non-protesters, did and politely ask to be allowed to leave. You would almost certainly be turned down, and perhaps even killed, but you can make the attempt. Lapsed Pacifist (talk) 15:24, 13 August 2009 (UTC)
"Forcing" is maybe a bit strong, but I think there's a big difference between talking about people "attempting" to leave the area, and being "allowed" to. The source doesn't tell us anything about the people who "attempted to leave". --McGeddon (talk) 16:55, 11 August 2009 (UTC)
When I say "attempted to leave", I'm referring to the people who attempted to walk away after the police pretended the way was clear. Clearly, not all of these were "allowed to leave", as many disagreed with the police overstepping the mark of what the law entitles them to by asking for names and addresses. Lapsed Pacifist (talk) 15:58, 13 August 2009 (UTC)
This is getting pretty pathetic. My wording is entirely based on the source and yours is not. Regardless of what you think we can only work from sources - therefore once again I'm going to replace your text. Smartse (talk) 14:14, 22 August 2009 (UTC)
Even at the cost of clarity? Lapsed Pacifist (talk) 16:19, 22 August 2009 (UTC)
What do you mean by "clarity"? This is what the source says and so this is what should be in the article. It is hardly like The Guardian are right wing or anything either! I'm sure they would have used "attempted to leave" if that was the case. Smartse (talk) 22:47, 22 August 2009 (UTC)
I'm not saying the Guardian is biased; just that their description leaves something to be desired. Your version reflects this. Lapsed Pacifist (talk) 12:31, 23 August 2009 (UTC)
But their description is all we have to go on, unless you have a different source to use. Smartse (talk) 15:57, 23 August 2009 (UTC)
I have no problem with going on their description of events; my objection is to the use of unclear language. You haven't really addressed the points I've made. Lapsed Pacifist (talk) 16:46, 23 August 2009 (UTC)
What is unclear about When police started to allow protesters to leave the kettle, they were photographed by Forward Intelligence Teams and told to give their names and addresses (which they are legally not required to do). Some refused to do so and were forced back into the kettle by police. I admit that it doesn't let people know what happened to those who were returned to the kettle but neither does the source. Saying attempted to leave makes it seem as though people were pushing through the cordon (which I doubt they managed to do). Smartse (talk) 22:33, 23 August 2009 (UTC)
Why on earth do you think that "attempting to leave" signifies force? Ian Tomlinson attempted to leave; he didn't use force. Your version still has the same problem I referred to above; first you write "...police started to allow protesters to leave...", then you contradict that. Lapsed Pacifist (talk) 14:43, 24 August 2009 (UTC)


So what exactly is wrong with "When police started to allow protesters to leave the kettle"? That is what the source says. Furthermore, as protestors attempted to leave at times before 8pm and were not allowed to do so, the phrase "when protestors attempted to leave" is innaccrate. ninety:one 15:01, 24 August 2009 (UTC)

They didn't allow them to leave; that's the problem. Lapsed Pacifist (talk) 15:47, 24 August 2009 (UTC)
So would "When police offered protesters the opportunity to leave the kettle" be acceptable? ninety:one 18:59, 24 August 2009 (UTC)
It would certainly be an improvement. Lapsed Pacifist (talk) 15:42, 25 August 2009 (UTC)

Legal Authority[edit]

Kettling is legal in the UK, as it is a common law containment to prevent a Breach of the Peace. It is not, as various interested parties have falsely (or maybe just erroneously) claimed, unlawful detention. As I am not familiar with the legal systems of Germany and Denmark, does anybody know what the legal authority for a "kettle" is there? It may be relevant, as I have no doubt the same kind of people make the same sort of claims on the continent. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 11:50, 2 June 2010 (UTC)

For the 2010 G20 section it states "the government of Ontario has refused a public inquiry" and uses the linked article as a source but no such comment is found within the source thus I have removed it.-- (talk) 18:13, 9 August 2010 (UTC)

Unreliable sources[edit]

I've removed a section (diff here) which uses a forum and a youtube video in the forum as a reference. Whilst I don't dipute that the video shows kettling in action, as a self published source I don't think that it should be used as a reference in the article. The majority of the content in the removed section is also already included in the tactics section and so I don't really see the point in repeating something that is already well referenced with something that is not. If you can find a newspaper story that talks about property being lost then please add it, but as it is I don't think it is appropriate way to reference the material. Smartse (talk) 13:26, 13 July 2010 (UTC)

Concerning the referencing of the section "London Riots, 2011" which states "Kettling might be in use during the 2011 England riots.[41]" can IRC chat really be a sensible reference? Surely if Kettling were employed in the London riots there would be much better evidence of it than some random's mumbling in a private chat? — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 15:11, 27 September 2011 (UTC)

Criticism/Human Rights?[edit]

Has there been any significant criticism or human rights group responses to this?--Metallurgist (talk) 23:52, 9 December 2010 (UTC)

N30 anti-WTO demonstration[edit]

The only citation given in this section is to "A brief history of "kettling"". at That article contains only one relevant sentence:

“The police tactic of “kettling” was first used at N30, the anti-WTO summit protest at Euston station, London, November 1999,” and that sentence is almost identical to the first of the two sentences in the Wikipedia article: “The kettling tactic was first used in the UK at the N30 anti-WTO protest at Euston station, London (parallel to the shut-down of the meeting in Seattle) on November 30, 1999.”

Shouldn’t a cited source contain more relevant detail than the article that cites it? Doesn’t a cited source which simply repeats what is said in the article that cites it create the impression that sufficient corroboration is not really available — particularly if only one citation is offered?

An article in The Independent, of December 2, 1999, provides a considerable amount of detail about the demonstration but makes no mention of kettling. It does refer, however, to “running street battles” between the protesters and the police — precisely the sort of occurrence that kettling is supposed to prevent!

There is a short item in “History of anti-capitalist protests” in The Guardian, of April 30, 2003 which says that police “surrounded” the protesters but no details are given and the word “kettling” is not used. This does indicate that something like kettling took place, but since the item appeared three-and-a-half years after the event and contains no detail it seems not be of much corroborative value. Also: given the quite specific definition of “kettling” at the beginning of the Wikipedia article (“long length of time, constant impermeability, small size”) the mere fact of surrounding does not seem enough to show that police action at N30 qualifies as a historic first use of kettling in the UK.

In light of all the above, it seems to me that unless better citations can be found the statement should be removed. (talk) 20:53, 1 July 2011 (UTC)


Both of these statements cannot be true:

The kettling tactic was used in the UK against disabled people during a Disability Rights Demonstration in Parliament Square, London October 1995. [16] [edit]N30 anti-WTO demonstration, 1999

The kettling tactic was first used in the UK at the N30 anti-WTO protest at Euston station, London (parallel to the shut-down of the meeting in Seattle) on November 30, 1999 — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 20:43, 9 July 2011 (UTC)

Origins of tatic -Germany (but East or West ?)[edit]

In the book "1989 The Berlin Wall: My Part in Its Downfall Paperback" the author Peter Millar claims that the tatic originated in East Germany but the article seemsc to suggest its origins were in the West ? Who is correct ? (talk) 21:26, 25 March 2015 (UTC)

POV-Lead Tag and (police) tactic link[edit]

I have two concerns with this articles opening statements:

  • The lead currently reads: "– or are completely prevented from leaving, with the effect of denying the protesters access to food, water and toilet facilities for an arbitrary period determined by the police forces."

I have concerns that the tone of this may lead the reader to believe that the objective of Kettling is to deny people the ability to have access to food, water and bathroom facilities. It appears to display a largely negative point of view towards police and I believe it may violate the spirit of WP:NPOV. From what I have read in this article, it is apparent that these denials to food, water, and bathroom facilities have occurred while rioters and protestors have been Kettled, but the statement above seems to imply that this is always going to be the case, to contradict the previous statement of: "Protesters are left only one choice of exit controlled by the police". That is, if there is an exit, there would not inherently be a denial of basic needs (food, water, bathroom) in having an exit, right?
I also take objection with the phrasing of, "arbitrary period". It indicates that the choices made by police commanders in these situations are not based off of official police training protocol and procedure. I would expect that they are meant to follow procedures put in place for that type of scenario - I do not know the specifics of what these guidelines would state, but I would be extremely surprised to learn if none existed. E.g. Crowd Size ∗ Level of Aggression ÷ Number of Police Personnel = Kettle Waiting Period
If the argument is that these policies and procedures are not followed, ignored, or not taught adequately, that is obviously something that should be mentioned in the article and should be mentioned in a criticism subsection, provided it is properly sourced, but the tone of this lead is seriously lacking. It might be important to distinguish whether the blocking of any exit in Kettling goes against established police procedure - I'd be interested to know the answer.
TBH, I don't feel that I can maintain a neutral attitude while editing that area at the moment, but if someone else can think of a better way to reword what has already been written, please do so.

  • Additionally, the first sentence reads: "Kettling (also known as containment or corralling) is a police tactic for controlling large crowds during demonstrations or protests."

I have provided a relevant source for the term "tactic" in this instance, to riot control. If someone disagrees with this choice of link, please say so in this area prior to modifying. Thanks. Sawta (talk) 14:52, 25 January 2017 (UTC)

Presidential Inauguration 2017 - Increased scrutiny requested[edit]

As a note, this article may see increased traffic over the coming weeks due to the phrase "kettling" being used in many of the news stories reported regarding the arrest of several journalists who were arrested during the Inauguration Riots. It should be noted that one of the journalists is listed as "livestreamer", which I take to mean that they were sending information to Facebook, or one of the other associated live streaming sources available online, as it occurred.

An important side note is that as of: 01/25/2017, the search term "livestreamer journalist" brings up a whopping total of 19,000 results. Results 2, 3 are references to this news story. Sources 7 and 8 are for a live streamer on YouTube, and the remaining of the first page appear to be "citizen journalists".

According to the definition of Journalist on Wikipedia, it appears that a livestreamer can conceivably fit that definition, in so far as someone with a video camera is a cinematographer, and someone who points and yells at that person is a director. Its a technical irregularity that appears to meet the criteria in its most broad interpretation of the meaning of the word, but may not nessacarily be able to go toe-to-toe with anything in the MSM.

I believe the salacious nature of this news story will mean that people who are excited at the idea of journalists being arrested under a new Presidents watch will happily include a livestreamer as a Journalist without question, while others, who support that President, and are actively trying to discredit those people will happily argue that none of the arrested were journalists.

This specific part of the article may draw attention, and may result in vandalism. I am going to attempt to request for temporary moderation until this becomes a non-issue, and these nefarious elements move onto the next topic of the day. Sawta (talk) 22:13, 25 January 2017 (UTC)

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