Controversy Around LRAD may lead to its Legalized Use

At the end of May, during the visit of US President Barak Obama to Poland, ZSP organized some protests, including one on Plac Trzech Krzyży in Warsaw. Besides the usual tactics they tried, including keeping about 100 people away from the protest, they brought along an LRAD. Those few of us who knew what the strange device was were very surprised: not only did nobody know that the police had this weapon, but we were fairly sure that its use is illegal. And we were right.

We later contacted the media and made a scandal about the police having this weapon, demanding to know how they spent public money on something that isn't even legal. The main newspaper in Poland wrote about this, asking the same question. Later, Amnesty International and the Helsinki Foundation joined in and this newspaper printed another article with the criticisms.

The police explained that it purchased 6 LRADs. They also explained that it would be used to "fight football hooligans", although they brought it to a political demonstration, which was attended by various people, including the elderly and children. The police spokesperson however later denied that it was bought to be used against people at all, claiming that it was bought to be used as a loudspeaker system. The main newspaper commented one how, after it asked the police why it had the LRAD, the police changed their explanation. There was no explanation of who approved the purchase of the illegal weapons, although a few organizations are still pursuing this question, including us.

Today the police information portal, the main paper and the radio responded to these questions by saying that a new bill is being written which would give the police the right to use this weapon.
While the police are at it, some other rights are apparently being written into the bill. This includes the right to use chemical weapons (!) and explosives. In addition, the obligation to fire a warning shot before shooting somebody would be removed.

ZSP will protest.

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