Chile imports new water cannon from Austria

A large water cannon parked up, flashing its lights.
The water cannon before being unloaded

Chile has imported a new, 8-wheel water cannon from the Austrian company Rosenbauer. The new cannon arrived at the Port of San Antonio in mid-July, and was announced by the country’s Union of Port Workers who said that while workers went ahead with unloading the vehicle subject to their contract, they made clear that they “will never agree that the Government invests millions in this type of oppressive vehicle and leaves a country hungry.”

The vehicle was sold by Austrian company Rosenbauer, who specialise in equipment for fire services but also produce water cannons used in Germany and Switzerland. According to the website the new vehicle in Chile is a Cobra 8x8. The Cobra 8x8 is based on a truck originally designed for putting our fires and placed on a military chassis, and can carry 12,000 litres of water. The Chilean government has also ordered a number of 4x4 Sandcat vehicles from the Israeli company Plasan.

The vehicle is understood to be designated for use by the Chilean Carabineros, who have been involved in violent and sometimes lethal oppression of protesters in Chile, who in late 2019 faced militarised police armed with tear gas, shotguns, water cannons and rubber bullets. Amnesty International described the violence as “unnecessary and excessive force with the intention of injuring and punishing protesters”.

Police militarisation theme

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