We find ourselves in tense times currently and many people are not happy with their circumstances. Couple that with ‘powers-that-be’ who wish to agitate (divide and conquer) in an attempt to control an outcome. Sad to say, but recent changes in our country have made it necessary for people to learn how to survive the chaos of a violent protest.
Avoidance is probably the first step, with social media now providing an excellent way of tracking this.
In a large crowd, the energy of mass emotion can be contagious and rapidly spiral out of control. It often will only take one person to set a chain reaction in motion of high emotion or chaos. Recent protests may have become violent by agitators who have been planted there to set things in motion.
Stay calm and keep your emotions in check. Violent protests & riots coincide with intense emotions that boil to the surface, but if you want to survive one you would be better off keeping your own emotions in check. In the heat of the moment, your adrenaline and survival instincts will kick in, but try to think rationally and pursue safety in a methodical manner.
Avoid confrontation. The presumption here is that you have not intended to participate in a choas, so do not engage with others. Keep your head down, while at the same time looking for safe exit, but maintain situational awareness.
Mob or Herd mentality is sometimes a fear-based reaction to peer pressure which makes individuals act in order to avoid feeling “left behind” from the group.
People in a violent mob will believe they cannot be held responsible for violent behavior because they perceive the violent action as the group’s (e.g., “everyone was doing it”) rather than their own behavior. When in a large group, people tend to experience less individual responsibility. Typically, the bigger a mob, the more its members lose self-awareness and become willing to engage in dangerous behavior. When people feel that their behavior cannot be traced back to them, they are more likely to break social norms and engage in violence. Group violence is most likely to occur when the group is large, and people are able to remain anonymous.
Do not be singled out – just keep moving without engaging. Even if your emotional state wants to challenge the protest or the looting, don’t do it. There’s absolutely nothing to gain – you are not going to change anyone’s mind at this point…
Walk. Don’t run. Don’t stop. If you run or go too quickly, you might attract unwanted attention.
Move inside and stay there. Typically riots happen in the streets, or somewhere outside. Being inside, especially in a large and sturdy structure, can be good protection to wait it out. (though beware of potential looting)
Keep your doors and windows locked. Don’t watch the riot from windows or balconies. Move to inside rooms, where the danger of being hit by stones, bullets, ect is minimized. Try to find at least two possible exits in case you need to evacuate the building in a hurry.
Stay on the sidelines. If you’re caught up in a chaos, don’t take sides. Try to look as inconspicuous as possible, and slowly and carefully move to the outside of the mob. Stay close to walls or other protective barriers if possible but try to avoid bottlenecks of people. These are areas where the crowd can be squashed into a tight place, such as passages, pillars, high fences and walls that go on for a long way.
It’s hard to tell the victims from the violent protestors in a chaotic environment, and if you approach the police for help at that time, they may mistake that for intent to harm. This tip might seem a little counter-intuitive at first, but it really is a smart move during a violent protest. Whether or not you are involved in a protest, be careful of how you approach authorities – try to ensure you are not seen as a threat.
Once you are personally safe (with or without your vehicle) call family or friends to let them know where you are, and what is happening.
If you’re caught up in a car, stay calm. Remain inside the car unless your car becomes a focus for the riot, in which case it risks being torched, smashed or rolled over. Calmly and swiftly leave it behind and get to safety if that happens. If people seem to block your escape route; use your hooter, and carefully drive through or around them at a moderate speed, and they should move out of the way. Driving towards police lines can be interpreted by the police as a preparation to use the car as a weapon against them. DON’T DO IT.
Move away from the riot. The more time you spend in the midst of the chaos, the greater your chance of being injured or killed. That said, in most circumstances it’s better to move out of a protest and choas slowly. It can also be dangerous to move against a crowd, so go with the flow until you are able to escape into a doorway or into a street away from the crowd. Think of crowd movement like currents in the ocean. In a large riot, the crowd in the middle will be moving faster than the people on the perimeters. As such, if you find yourself in the middle, you should not try to move in a different direction, but follow the flow and slowly make your way to the outside. This requires patience in order to work properly.
Watch your footing in a mob situation. If you stumble and fall to the ground you’re likely to be trampled. This is especially dangerous in stadiums and other enclosed areas, where many unfortunate victims have been crushed to death. If you fall down, pull yourself up into a ball. Protect your face, ears and internal organs. In this position you are a smaller object that can be avoided. You will receive less damage if you are stepped on. If others trip on you they will help create a larger “pile” that rioters will avoid.
If you’re with your family or a group of friends when the chaos breaks loose, make sure to stick together.
If at all possible, try to agree to a good meeting place to regroup at ahead of time. Your time is better spent looking for an exit instead of trying to find people who’ve gotten lost.
When a riot breaks out, one of the most common crowd dispersion tools used by police or military is tear gas.
Note: ‘Tear Gas’ is technically a micro-pulverized powder dispensed with a pressure sprayer, or various grenade-like canisters. If it is in the eyes, to clear the eyes have the victim lie down, turn his head to the side and wash the eyes with water or saline. You are removing the micro-pulverized powder from the eyes and face and not washing it over into the other eye.
Keep emergency numbers stored in your phone on speed dial. This is a good idea in general – they are always handy in an emergency:
- Vision Tactical
- 084 222 2222
- Emergency Dial (Cell Phone)
- ER 24
- 084 124