Shuttlecock shooters to control crowds in Russia
Moscow, June 7 (IANS/RIA Novosti) In a novel step to control crowds, Russian police have ordered new trucks equipped with non-lethal guns that will fire giant shuttlecocks at unruly protesters.
The pneumatic gun, so far bearing the straightforward title Volanomyot, or "Shuttlecock Shooter," will be able to shoot containers that look like a badminton projectile, Komsomolskaya Pravda daily said.
Weighing between five and 30 grams, the anti-crowd shuttlecocks can be fired at the rate of 60 units per minute, the report said, adding that these can be loaded with paint or pepper spray.
A hit from the lightest shuttlecock can be compared to a "swat from daddy's belt," while the heaviest feels like a horsekick, an unnamed representative for the developer was cited as saying.
Though the weapon is supposed to be non-lethal, a pig was killed by several bursts of shuttlecocks during testing last year, the developers said. The force of the projectile's impact was decreased after the creature's demise.
According to a man who attended a similar testing said on air of Russian News Service radio Wednesday, dodging a shot is nearly impossible, but it will not hurt too much.
Russian police have a "colossal demand" for new non-lethal weaponry because traditional means of crowd control such as tear gas and electric shockers are dangerous. They have been known to kill protesters, Komsomolskaya Pravda said.
Water cannons are safer, but only in warm weather, which renders them unusable for most of the year in Russia's frigid climate.
The gun was commissioned by Russia's Interior Ministry in 2009 and costs a very modest 5 million rubles ($150,000) to produce. It remained unclear when riot police may add it to their equipment.
Mass anti-Kremlin rallies have been ongoing in Moscow since December, turning violent during a May 6 demonstration when protesters clashed with police. A new opposition rally is set for June 12.
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