Photo credit of FOX 9 Minneapolis-St. Paul
As we enter our second weekend of nation-wide protests, the size of the demonstrations are expected to increase in volume and frequency. With expected increase comes potential for further confrontation with police. As the protests have continued to grow over the past week, police response to the demonstrations show just how ill-prepared they are to handle such unrest.
It has been estimated that over 9,000 people have been arrested nationwide since the beginning of the protests, an average of over 1,000 a day. It is unknown at this time how many of these arrests were looters or actual protesters.
Those marching in support of the Black Lives Matter movement have been hit with tear gas, water hoses, and even rubber bullets. During one protest in Asheville, North Carolina, a makeshift medical station was destroyed by local police, who did their due diligence to destroy every single bottle of water and all other supplies for protesters.
In a post on the New York City subreddit, r/nyc, a Reddit user gave advice on how to protest. The user, u/arejay00, protested in the Hong Kong Umbrella Revolution of 2014 and again more recently in the Extradition Protests that are still ongoing. The post gives tips on everything from packing extra snacks and supplies to what to do in the event you are teargassed, which prove to be a very real possibility for the millions of protesters across the country. Check out below for the advice as laid out by u/arejay00 and click here for a direct link to the Reddit post.
#1 Be Prepared To Get Arrested
“Always leave your house in preparation of the potential of arrest. You might be peaceful, but if this continues for weeks, at some point you will find yourself caught up near a hot spot. You absolutely need to have the phone number of someone you trust to handle legal matters memorized in your head. If you are an organizer, try to form a coalition that can offer legal assistance for anyone that is arrested. Over here, we have groups that go around stamping phone numbers onto people's arms during every protest to make sure that they can easily get access to legal assistance if arrested.”
See links here to donate to the Minnesota Freedom Fund, Black Lives Matter, George Floyd’s Family, Justice for Breonna Taylor, Justice for David McAtee, the Brooklyn Community Bail Fund, and even more here.
#2 Tear Gas
“Be prepared for tear gas. Carry a bottle of saline solution with you. They are to wash your eyes if you are exposed to tear gas. Wear goggles if you have.”
See link here for a guide to defend yourself against tear gas.
#3 Have An Exit Strategy
“During earlier times of the protest, I was once part of a large group that got flanked by a group of cops on each end of the block and were held there for hours. It was a peaceful protest that night but the cops will start to pull shit like this to deter people from coming out. When congregating, try to always position yourself in intersections so you will have multiple ways to leave. When the crowd gets big and tear gas hits and everyone is escaping, if you are aware of exit routes, it will be very valuable for not only you but those around you as well.”
#4 Stay United
"This point is extremely important to keep the protest going strong and you must always keep this in your mind. Our 2014 protest that lasted 2.5 months ultimately fizzled out because there was too much infighting. Protest movements are always extremely nuanced, and you will witness a wide range of actions and ideologies within the movement that you might not agree with. That is fine, just accept that there will be people that share the same cause but approach it differently. Don't call them out, don't tell them to go home, don't blast them on social media. Just keep doing you. Momentum is key and you must make sure to never do anything to slow other people's momentum, or have others slow your momentum. Don't let those in authority divide and conquer the movement."
#5 Keep Your Head On A Swivel
"It is not time and place to hang out with your friends. Always be vigilant and pay attention to your surroundings. A 10 second delay in noticing potential problems might mean getting hit by tear gas, rubber pellet, or worse, being arrested. If the crowd had dispersed and people are starting to go home, don't stick around and hang out. Things will always become more dangerous when there are less eyeballs around."
#6 Support Others
"Bring an extra bottle of saline solution, an extra bottle of water, extra snacks, anything helpful, and give them to people who aren't as well prepared. Make an extra sign to give to those who came empty handed. The act of sharing goes a long way in building camaraderie and the morale needed to keep the protest going. Always look out for anyone that might need help. If you see an older person, pay attention to them. If a tear gas hits or a group of cops start rushing, they might need your help to escape."
#7 Remember Why You Are There
"You will start to see a lot of people and hear a lot of voices that will make you question the movement. Don't let those things affect you, and don't be the one to make others question their action. Those who are in authority will take advantage of this human nature and utilize the media, social media, and send agents onto the protest sites that will make you believe the movement has gone in the wrong direction and you shouldn't participate in this anymore. The only way to combat this is to just keep doing what you do, and accept what those around you are doing. If everyone can hold onto this principle, everyone will continue to come out based on their own principle and the protest will continue strong."