Ugandan police firing pink-dyed water at protestors


39 Responses to “Ugandan police firing pink-dyed water at protestors”

  1. sam1148 says:

    Worst. Rave. Ever. 

  2. Spriggan_Prime says:

    Sweet Ugandan rave!

    Edit: Uh. I was beaten to it.

  3. Antinous / Moderator says:

    Jeez, remind me to skip Holi this year.

  4. Genre Slur says:

    I wonder what the locals think about the possibility of getting migraines from the dye, rather than the leader and his gang. Maybe they would prefer febreez!

  5. David Carroll says:

    Odd colour choice for such a homophobic regime. ;)

  6. sagodjur says:

    I’m glad that the Ugandan police have come out in favor of breast cancer research!

  7. dross1260 says:

    Didas Pink

  8. Enoch_Root says:

    The police who are shooting this dye have to be getting it all over themselves as well. How many intra-police beatings are going to be laid down on the guys operating the water cannons.

  9. phisrow says:

    I wonder how common this sort of technique is…

    Relatively overt taggants, like pink dye or paintball rounds, are pretty obvious; but there are number of products on the market that are both somewhat subtler and more precise.

    So-called ‘SmartWater’ and ‘SelectaDNA’ to name two who came up quickly with some googling, offer solutions containing uniquely coded microdots or trace chemical combinations, along with assorted amounts of adhesive(depending on whether it is for covert tracing of assets or for spraying onto people) and typically a UV-reactive dye for easy location of tagged objects and people.

    It would certainly be more expensive than basic dye, but(especially if you left out the UV-reactive dye) you could fairly precisely and covertly tag people in specific locations for such future forensic purposes as suit you…

  10. You’re acting like this is a new thing. Dye water has been used for years.

  11. Sam Ley says:

    The technique is quite common, particularly in Africa. Was used in Tunisia during the protests there, and at least a few other times during recent “Arab Spring” protests.

    Very effective for:
    - Tracking down protestors later
    - Shaming protestors in front of their neighbors
    - Making it easy for neighbors who fear reprisals to be coerced into turning people in to avoid their own beatings “Turn in the protestors if you want to stay safe, they are pink, you can’t claim you don’t know anything.”
    - Economically hurting protestors, because they can’t go back to work/jobs/public places while still pink.

    A really insidious way of violating people’s rights – not acceptable.

    • Blaze Curry says:

      sounds like a chemical weapon to me when used in this way.

      • Sam Ley says:

        Great analogy – it might not make you physically sick, but it is still debilitating.

      • Spriggan_Prime says:

        Definitely not. This would be psychological warfare or fall under some other such heading as the substances used don’t directly harm the individual it’s the social stigmas that would cause damage. That and the jail time and fines when they track you down.

    • Spriggan_Prime says:

      Don’ start nuthin’ won’ be nuthin’

      But really now, people’s rights? When crowds turn from protest to mob rule I’d rather dye them funky colors and publicly shame them then start using semi– I mean ‘non lethal’ methods. That’s not violating people’s rights. They chose their actions and there are consequences. Know the risks before you charge in with the revolution.

      …or you might end up magenta.

      • surreality says:

        Is there proof that the crowds are turning from protest to mob rule? Have they been violent yet? I’m asking in all honesty. The link didn’t seem to say, and I’m not well-informed on the situation in Uganda at all.

        • Spriggan_Prime says:

          I’m not sure myself in this exact instant. But as Police, Military and Security groups have demonstrated in the past it just takes one out of place person doing something to spark the fire, especially in such charged places like Africa. I’d rather them dye crowds than start firing rounds at them. Locally here in Boston, after a sports win and large crowds of rowdy fans we had a student catch a rubber bullet in the eye socket which killed her. Then there’s the recent kissing riot couple, they were just bystanders not involved with what was going on.

          • hassan-i-sabbah says:

            “They chose their actions and there are consequences.”

          • Spriggan_Prime says:

            What you have a problem with personal responsibility?

          • Sam Ley says:

            Responsibility goes a both ways. They may have known that the government forces would violate their rights – but that doesn’t justify it.

            Protestor-shaming is like “slut shaming” in rape cases “If you didn’t want to be raped, why did you dress up so pretty? Aren’t you ‘personally responsible’ for your actions?”

          • themac says:

            “such charged places like Africa” which of the 61 territories on the continent are you referring to? There are many different governments/countries/cultures/economies/etc. To refer to it as a place of singularity would be analogous to saying that Asia kidnapped Euna Lee and Laura Ling when you are referring to North Korea. 

            Also, the dying of protesters is not a form of crowd control, it is a form of branding which is done with the intent of being able to identify people later. What do you think will happen to anyone dyed pink, protester or bystander, later when they police come to their door? Perhaps they will join the nine unarmed people who were killed Monday at the protests, three of whom were shot in the back as they ran away.

          • Lobster says:

            How about “all of it except Egypt and South Africa?”

          • Sam Ley says:

            There are legit means to disperse an actual violent mob, but that isn’t the purpose here – it is to find and intimidate dissidents. Using dye to spray a criminal who breaks a store window is fine – that person committed a legitimate crime and should be found. Spraying anyone who disagrees with your government so you can easily round them up later for illegal detention and questioning is a violation of human rights.

            Of course they knew the consequences going into the protest, but they also knew the consequences of NOT protesting. Just knowing that your rights are going to be violated doesn’t justify the act of violating your rights.

    • I’m surprised they haven’t started doing this in the US or UK yet.  On the other hand, it could backfire.  Might make pink the new cool.

  12. Petzl says:

    > Presumably, the pink dye helped the police track down protesters after the fact.

    Or, they just want the protesters to look fabulous.

  13. corydodt says:

    > it just takes one out of place person doing something to spark the fire

    OR! One agent provocateur. Do we still have to pretend the police are protecting the public here? The police are protecting their bosses. They’ll do anything they can to make it look like the protestors needed to be violently squashed or humiliated. It’s all about control.

  14. nosehat says:

    Pfft, amateurs!  You’re supposed to spray them with RFID tags in the water.

  15. Daniel Carollo says:

    In Cape Town, in the 80s, the police used purple die on the people demonstrating against Apartheid. This gave rise to graffiti shortly thereafter, “Power to the Purple” was one of them…

  16. juepucta says:

    In the panic over ‘striking back’ at the ‘miscreants’ that rioted in the UK, a bunch of old fart gasbag politicians did mention dye. More than once.

    A recent wire article mentioned that apparently the idea was considered way back in the 70s to deal with the Irish situation. No idea if that is where it originates or if it was invented in the UK.-G.

  17. The apartheid government tried this 20 years ago: see

  18. daneyul says:

    So, protesters are responsible for the repressive actions that government thugs take? 

    That’s your idea of personal responsibility? 

  19. Peter says:

    I wonder how long before non-governmental thugs (or governmental thugs not acting under government authority at that moment) come up with a new scam: water guns filled with dyed water.  “Pay me or you’ll look like a protester.”

  20. Lobster says:

    In other news, Uganda has seen a striking decrease in cases of heartburn, nausea, upset stomach, diarrhea, and indigestion.

  21. If you visit a convenience store in Tokyo, you may notice a couple of fluorescent orange baseballs behind the counter.  They’re actually soft-skinned and filled with dye, so that the clerk can throw them at people who cause trouble or try to rob the store—same idea as above, basically.

    The interesting thing to note is that this grew out of a technique where police wanting to identify protesters in the 1968 student riots actually threw eggs at the protesters…

  22. Sean_Jacobs says:

    The tactic of police spraying protesters with dyed water originated in Apartheid South Africa:


  23. parfae says:

    Hasa Diga Eebowai!

  24. The Apartheid government did this in South Africa in the 1980s, but with purple dye. The Purple shall govern.

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