Anti China protests in Hong Kong, protests against mass killings in the USA, Pro Brexit and Anti Brexit protests in the UK, the list of protests goes on and back home in India, it's probably an event which may happen anywhere, there’s a curfew-like situation right now in J&K and it might spread to other parts of the country as well.
Irrespective of the fact that one may be a part of it, against or even nonchalant to these protests, it is always a scary thought of getting stuck in a protest gone wrong. Ask someone who has been stuck in riots which result from protests gone wrong or even caught in a stampede that has happened on bridges, shrines and several other places, it has resulted in death, injuries and scars for a lifetime.
While one should avoid being a part of any such mass gatherings, one may get caught in a situation involuntarily as well. Here’s a quick self-defence reckoner from Cuttlfish to stay safe in a riot or a stampede situation.
- Stay Away from the Centre
Every gathering, protest or anything that might result in a stampede or a riot has a core area where there is maximum gathering, it could be near the stage, close to barricades and so on. It is always a good idea to stay away from this core and stay at the periphery that gives to chance to escape if the situation ever goes out of hand.
- Protect your Face and Eyes
A lot of times in riot situations people start throwing objects, it could be bottles, pen, chairs and any other object that could virtually be thrown. While it hurts getting hit with any of these, always protect your face with your palms covering your face and eyes. It is ok to take some hits on the core and escape immediately without taking a hit on the head or eyes. It might be a difference between a lifelong injury and some minor scratches.
- Stay Aware of Potential Weapons and Safety Places
While we are at a crowded place always be aware of the surroundings, know the routes available and objects around you. One needs not to be paranoid but just being aware of which object can cause harm and which part of constructions can be used for taking cover or which roads or lanes can be used for escaping out. Stay away from large dustbins in mass protests as these are frequently used to hide bombs and explosives.
- Wear shoes and clothes that don’t restrict your movement
Imagine getting stuck in a stampede with high heels or uncomfortable clothes. Be in your easy clothing in places with a large gathering like movie halls, shrines, public gatherings and other such areas.
- Never fight with Police
The last but very important tip is to never fight police in case you are stuck in a stampede or riot-like situation. Once recorded on video it might be taken as a piece of evidence against you. Stay on the right side of law and cooperate.
These are some handy self-defence tips by Cuttlfish to help you stay safe in case of a riot or a stampede. Do share your feedback and experiences to add on to it. Let’s build a safe society.