Kettling, also known as containment or corralling, is a police tactic for the management of large crowds during demonstrations or protests. It involves the formation of large cordons of police officers who then move to contain a crowd within a limited area. Protesters are left only one choice of exit, determined by the police, or are completely prevented from leaving. The term ‘kettle’ is a metaphor, likening the containment of violence to the containment of heat and steam within a domestic kettle.

The tactic prevents large groups from breaking into smaller splinters that have to be individually chased down, thus requiring the policing to break into multiple small battles. Kettling has been criticized for being an indiscriminate tactic which leads to the detention of law-abiding citizens and innocent bystanders, as well as for denying detainees access to food, water and toilets (for long periods of time in some cases). Critics also allege that kettling has been used to foment disorder with the aim of changing the focus of public debate.

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