Controversial tear gas canisters made in the USA
By Emily Smith, CNN
January 28, 2011
A thick pall of chemical smoke hung over a crowd in Cairo on Friday afternoon. People ran, covering their noses and mouths to escape yet another volley of tear gas.
The same scene was being played out elsewhere in Cairo, in Alexandria and Suez. And several weeks back, Tunisian police used tear gas to try to quell protests there. It is one of the most common ways to used to disperse protests -- but not everyone runs.
In both Tunisia and Egypt, some protesters stopped to pick up canisters, and posted photographs online. A few inches long, blue and silver, they include warning labels and then a set of initials: CSI, followed by "Made in the U.S.A."
The photograph posted in Tunisia was of a 40 mm riot CS smoke projectile, made by a company called Combined Systems Inc., which describes itself as a "tactical weapons company" and is based in Jamestown, Pennsylvania.
Whether CSI is operating within the law hasn't stopped protestors from voicing their dissatisfaction with the company.
After [Jawaher Abu] Rahmah died in Israel, demonstrators gathered outside Point Lookout Capital Partners' Manhattan offices. Point Lookout owns a majority interest in CSI. The protesting group -- the New York Campaign for the Boycott of Israel -- demanded that CSI stop providing tear gas that could be used on Palestinians by Israeli forces.