12 THINGS YOU NEED TO DO AND 1 THING YOU NEED TO HAVE IF YOU GET CAUGHT UP IN A RIOT
Protesting is a right we enjoy when we live in a democracy. Peaceful protest is considered a legitimate way of expressing the way we feel about things that are important to us, a way of letting the government know we are unhappy.
Sadly some protests turn ugly and when they do the change can happen fast. There a variety of reasons why this occurs, from agitators who hold an opposing view infiltrating what would have remained a peaceful protest to high feelings within the protest group that things are not happening quickly enough and maybe more notice would be taken if the protest was more forceful.
If you are caught up in such a situation the reasons for the change are of little importance, getting away from the violence is the only thing that should be on your mind, you can analyse later when you have made it to safety.
Now getting out of a mob is far easier said than done, tempers are flaring, feelings running high. Law enforcement will be in the area and that in itself can pose further problems for someone caught up in an angry crowd…LEO’s won’t stop to ask politely if you are involved. So, what do you do?
Well the obvious thing to say is avoid getting caught up in it in the first place. If you see marchers coming ahead of you go the other way, even if it’s not the direction you need to be going in. Look for buildings, not glass fronted, that you can take shelter in and wait until the mob has passed. Side alleys, gates you can get over or through and even recessed doorways will give you protection. Getting into a car, unless you have the means to drive it away isn’t a wise move and getting under a vehicle is even more unwise. Vehicles are often overturned or set on fire when people are intent on causing mayhem.
If you know that there is likely to be unrest in the area knowing alternative routes that can lead you away from the area is always prudent, carry a map of the area if you are not on home ground.
Right, back to our protest that is about to turn into a riot, if none of your avoidance tactics work what are your options?
- If you KNOW you are going to end up getting swept into the group stay as close to an outer edge as you can. This gives you a better chance of escape should the opportunity arise.
- I’m not suggesting you join in with the protest but DON’T try to reason with people, walk/move along with them offering no opinion, all the time looking for a way out of the crowd.
- If there is ‘wriggle room’ make your way to one side, edging your way nearer and nearer an outer edge of the group.
- Large and fast moving crowds cause more of a problem and as tempting as it may be to move away in the opposite direction and get out of there, unless you are on the outside of the crowd this is ill-advised. Trying to fight your way against a human tide can cause you serious injury and if you go down you will most likely be trampled underfoot.
- Continue moving in the same direction as the crowd but edge your way to whichever side is the nearest to getting you out of the throng. Everyone will be jostling so you going one step forwards and one step sideward will not be noticed.