Dolly Sisters Massacre
What happens when, according to Samuel Vimes you give the order "Do whatever you feel necessary" to a man who panics when he sees a crowd shaking their fists. When a group of people gathered in Dolly Sisters to protest about high bread prices, the Day Watch lieutenant called in Lord Venturi's Medium Dragoons, Tilden's old regiment. Needless to say having, to quote from the book "panicking people trapped between idiots on horseback and other idiots shouting 'yeah, right!' and trying to push forward, and the whole thing in the charge of a fool advised by a maniac with a steel rule", does not end well. It was never proven that an order was given to ride people down, but that didn't stop the cavalry. Three died as a result, and Watch Houses all over the city were attacked. It was a major cause of the Glorious Revolution.
Reminiscent of the Peterloo Massacre of 1819, in which a cavalry charge into a crowd killed eleven people and injured over 400 others, including many women and children. Local magistrates had been afraid the meeting organised by people asking for repeal of the Corn Laws (which had led to high bread prices) would turn into a riot, and prematurely sent in the cavalry - led by a nincompoop - with drawn sabres to break up the meeting.
Terry says: "It was Peterloo that I had in mind, as discussed here some time ago. But as a general rule, when things look bad there's always some dickhead who can make them worse."
Within living memory there was also Orgreave (1985), where mounted policemen were used as if they were military cavalry, to ride down and gatuitously beat up striking miners on a picket line. Detached observers have condemned the police action as gratuitous, un-necessary, and designed to assert the might of the State over dissident strikers.--AgProv 17:24, 26 September 2011 (CEST)