What to Bring to a Protest That May Escalate
Exercising our rights to free speech and freedom of assembly in the face of tremendous political and financial injustices can be a life changing experience. By going to a rally in support of a cause that we feel passionate about can introduce us to new people, ideas and motivations for living your life in accordance with our own values. Revolting can be extremely liberating and help us to become the people we probably should be.
This post from Oakland Local is about how to prepare yourself mentally and physically for a mass rally where the police are most likely to instigate violence and another person’s actions may determine whether of not you get arrested, or worse.
So folks are gearing up to voice their dissent the day of the verdict; hopefully, it’s non-violently. Here are some tips on what to bring / wear and how to prepare for a protest that has the potential to escalate to a rebellion. The best tip I can give you is that although you determine how you are going to participate, in high tension situations another person’s actions can make that choice for you.
We must be responsible for one another and the message of the action. Secondly, OPD (or any other Police Department) is 4x more prepared.
So however you decided to participate (in protest or rebellion) be clear, prepared and with folks that share that choice:
• water (as much as you can carry. this is for you and your friends to drink, for irrigating eyes and wounds, for cooling off. it’s worth its weight–bring lots)
• several pairs of vinyl gloves (protect against blood AND pepper spray, latex works but is a common allergen)
• change &/or card for telephone call
• paper, pen, duct tape, marker
• legal aid # written in permanent marker on both arms
• Ear plugs
• cheap watch, paper, pen for accurate documentation of events, police brutality, injuries
• Bring small first aid kit but leave anything that can be viewed as a weapon (scissors, blades etc)
If your group chooses Non-violent guidelines (click here for an example http://www.noharmm.org/nonviolagree.htm) Arrestable’s Essentials: (if there is a mass sweep you may be arrested) Check out this website for legal aid info: http://www.midnightspecial.net/materials/kyr.html
• legal aid set up and a contact that is not participating that can hold bail, has your emergency contact info etc.
• your inhaler, epipen, insulin or other medication if you require
• several days of your prescription medication and doctor’s note in case of arrest
• menstrual pads, if needed. Avoid using tampons–if you’re arrested you may not have a chance to change it (tampons left in more than six hours increase your risk of developing toxic shock syndrome)
Once under arrest avoid violence. Join an affinity group. Abide by guidelines. Leave illegal things home. To learn more about organizing in jail and jail solidarity click here: Starhawk: Organizing in Jail and Starhawk: Jail Support.
What to wear:
• comfortable, protective shoes that you can run in
• clothing which covers most of your skin to protect from sun and pepper spray exposure
• shatter-resistant eye protection ie: sunglasses, swim goggles, or gas mask
• a cap or hat to protect you from the sun and from chemical weapon
• leave valuables and jewelry at home. Pass off your cellphone to your support/ non arrestable friend before you get arrested.
Preparing for and/or aiding wounds caused by police weaponry:
• wound care supplies (Band-aids, steri-strips, 2×2 & 4×4 bandages, 1st aid tape, Bactroban or other antiseptic)
• ace bandage
• chemical weapons decontamination supplies (3 small bottles of canola oil, alcohol, and a solution of liquid antacid/water, 1:1 ratio–this in a spray bottle, lots of gauze sponges or clean rags, stored in several small plastic bags)
• small tampons (good for nose bleeds)
• tongue depressors (for splinting)
• clean shirt in plastic bag (to change into if you get heavily gassed)
• Emergen-C (or other powdered electrolyte mix)
• Rescue Remedy (good for shock, trauma)
• tube of cake icing (or hard candy–good for raising blood sugar)
• aspirin, ibuprofen
• inhaler, epinephrine, benadryl (for those qualified to use them)
• gas mask or goggles paired with a respirator or bandanna to protect during chemical weapons deployment
• heavy-duty gloves if preparing to return police weapons to the line
• fresh clothes in plastic bag (in case yours get contaminated)
To learn about protection against tear gas and pepper spray, 101 click here: Starhawk’s Tear-Gas Page
Action Fashion Faux Pas:
• Don’t put vaseline, mineral oil, oil-based sunscreen or moisturizers on skin as they can trap chemicals.
• Don’t wear contact lenses, which can trap irritating chemicals underneath.
• Don’t wear things which can easily be grabbed (i.e.: dangly earrings or other jewelry, ties, loose hair)
• Don’t go to the demo alone if you can help it. It is best to go with an affinity group, or some friends who know you well.
• Don’t forget to sleep, eat, and drink lots of water. No matter how well rested and prepared you are and how tight your plan of action is with your affinity group, we can never really predict what will happen in an action, how the police will (over)react to the demonstration, no matter how peaceful you may be.
Remember the message and the reason for action.