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Russia buys water cannon to battle G8 protesters

Written by: Staff
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MOSCOW, Apr 7 (Reuters) Russia has bought a fleet of Israeli water cannon to douse anti-globalisation protesters when second city St Petersburg hosts the Group of Eight summit this summer, a newspaper reported today.

Restrictions on foreigners travelling to Russia and tight security at the July 15-17 summit make it unlikely there will be a repeat of the noisy protests seen at previous G8 gatherings.

But Russian police are taking no chances.

''A consignment of these vehicles has been bought on the eve of the ... St Petersburg G8 summit,'' Nezavisimaya Gazeta quoted Vladimir Golubyev, deputy head of the city's riot police, as saying.

''Vehicles like these are already used in Europe, for example against anti-globalisation protesters during mass disturbances,'' he said. ''It is a very effective piece of kit.'' He did not say how many water cannon had been bought or how much they cost.

US President George W Bush will lead a roster of world leaders arriving in Russia for the summit. Russia is chairing the group of wealthy nations for the first time.

The summit is a matter of personal prestige for Russian President Vladimir Putin. He is a St Petersburg native and has lavished state funds on sprucing up his hometown.

Authorities said last month they would for the first time in Russia be deploying unmanned drones to patrol the airspace over the city during the summit.

REUTERS KD RN1401

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