General. Riots can cause tremendous damage to capitalist power, and can raise the fighting spirit of poor and working people. Riots can politicize individuals, empower them, and alter their understanding of what is possible in the realm of resistance. More than any other aspect of revolutionary warfare, riots involve the largest numbers of people.
The Nature of Riots.
- Spontaneity. Although they can be anticipated and prepared for, riots tend to emerge spontaneously, i.e. without formal organization and leadership. This requires a great deal of organizational flexibility and mobility.
- Instability. Riots are fluid, fast-paced, unpredictable and dangerous, with people yelling and running, projectiles flying through the air, police charging or firing tear gas, etc. The sounds and sights can be confusing and overwhelm the senses. Some people may be screaming in pain, or yelling directions or warnings. Moments of chaos and pandemonium occur during which you know little about what is happening. While one area may be a scene of intense conflict, the next street over could be totally peaceful. Within moments a peaceful area can turn into a chaotic one.
- The Need for Awareness. Because of the highly unstable nature of riots, the key to success is maintaining awareness. Rioters should remain aware of what is happening at all times, keeping their eyes on the front, paying close attention to what the police are doing, looking out for incoming projectiles and police charges, and paying attention to the rear and sides for signs of police movement. Rioters should be aware of who is around them, and ensure that they stay with their unit, which provides them with security for both defensive and offensive maneuvers.
- Spatial Location. Riots are locally configured; they take different forms according to particular geographic locations. In evaluating the potential for, and effects of, rioting tactics, location is a very important consideration.
Section I – Know Your Enemy
Enemy Protective Gear. A fully equipped riot cop can wear up to 80 pounds of protective gear, including a helmet with a visor, shoulder and chest pads, upper and lower arm pads, thigh and shin guards, gas mask, baton, shield, coveralls, padded gloves, and boots. On top of all this, they wear a service-belt that holds a pistol, handcuffs, pepper spray, a walkie-talkie, etc. While all this material provides protection, it also limits their mobility. Constant moving and running can tire them out. On hot days, riot police can easily become overheated, especially if wearing gas masks. On the other hand, less equipped riot police may be more mobile, but they are more vulnerable to attack.
Tear Gas. Tear gas is technically a “non-lethal” riot-control agent, although tear gas has been known to kill people in unventilated spaces, and poses serious hazards to pregnant women and asthmatics. Various types of tear gas can be released from aerosol spray canisters, but can also be employed as projectiles that are either thrown by hand or fired from a launcher. Sometimes these devices function as tear gas grenades that explode upon impact or shortly after. When tear gas is fired from a launcher, it often sounds like shots are being fired. Do not panic; look up when you hear the shot and avoid the path of the projectile.
Tear gas projectiles can be neutralized by submerging them in a bucket of water. When touching tear gas canisters to neutralize them, or to throw or kick them back at the enemy, make sure that the device has already exploded (if not this can cause serious injury). Tear gas grenades usually explode within 5 seconds of landing. When tear gas canisters land they often continue to jump around on the ground, making it difficult to grab them. These canisters can be extremely hot, so they must be picked up wearing thick gloves.
- Effects of Tear Gas. Tear gas attacks the respiratory system and mucous membranes. The main effects are pain, burning and irritation of exposed mucous membranes and skin. Eyes are the most sensitive to tear gas and will close involuntarily and begin tearing, temporarily blinding you. There is a burning and irritating sensation in the airways (nose, mouth, throat and lungs). Large amounts of snot and saliva may be produced, as well as coughing, tightening of the chest, and an overall inability to breathe may be experienced. Burning and irritation may also be felt on the skin, that if untreated may lead to blisters. Other effects include nausea, dizziness, and vomiting. Confusion, disorientation, fear, and panic are common psychological effects. The effects of tear gas can be felt within seconds, usually first with coughing and stinging in the eyes. Within 30 seconds an individual can be completely incapacitated. The effects can persist for 30 minutes or longer after the point of exposure.
- First Aid for Tear Gas. Persons exposed to tear gas should be removed from the area of contamination as soon as possible, preferably to a cool, open space. Instruct the casualty to keep their hands away from their face and to not rub their eyes. Make sure that any contact lenses are disposed of. People administering first aid for tear gas should wear nitrile gloves (vinyl and latex both have micro-holes). As soon as possible, tip head 90 degrees and gently squeeze a squirt bottle (or a water bottle with a punctured lid) filled with sterile saline-solution (a mix of liquid antacid and water), or milk of magnesia (or non-mint maalox) mixed 50/50 with water, into each eye. Do not pour the decontamination solution over the casualty’s forehead (this can wash more chemical irritant into the eyes). Do not flush across the face, it will lead to further contamination. Instruct casualty to keep eyes open when they are being flushed out, but do not force the casualty’s eyes open (this can cause also further contamination). Place a towel or other material over the shoulders and chest to keep the wash from running down the casualty’s clothing. Flush downward and from the inside corner of the eye to the outside. After washing the casualty’s eyes for 3-5 seconds, repeat on the opposite side. Afterwards, have the casualty close eyes and pour the decontamination fluid over the casualty’s entire head. Then, go back to flushing eyes for or until pain has resolved. If pain does not resolve to a tolerable level within 45 minutes, seek advanced medical care. Following treatment, remove contaminated clothing as soon as possible. If clothing is not going to be discarded entirely, place it in a trash bag and seal it until washed (tear gas will persist in clothing and continue to contaminate rooms and people). Afterwards, avoid contact with surfaces, furniture, other clothing, etc. and wash your body thoroughly with soap and water. Do not use hot water when showering; steam will reactivate chemical agents; use cold or lukewarm water. Carefully rinse each part of your body separately, starting with your limbs, and avoiding genitals and face, which are highly sensitive. Do not put any lotions or oils on your body. Wash any clothing, equipment, packs, etc. in a washing machine or large plastic bucket using regular detergents, and leave exposed to fresh air for a few hours. Do not add any non-contaminated items to the wash.
Pepper Spray. Pepper spray can be released through hand-held aerosol spray canisters or as part of a projectile round (pepper balls). The enemy must be within 10-15 feet for aerosol spray to be effective.
- Effects of Pepper Spray. The effects of exposure to pepper spray (or pepper balls) are basically the same as for tear gas: blurring, tearing and closing of eyes, coughing, sneezing, difficulty breathing, etc. As with tear gas, the effects of exposure can occur within seconds and can persist for 30 minutes or longer.
- First Aid for Pepper Spray. Same as for tear gas: remove casualty to open space with fresh air, flush eyes with decontamination fluid, remove contaminated clothing, wash exposed skin, etc.
Other Enemy Weapons.
- Batons. There are many different types of batons used by the enemy. All can cause blunt trauma wounds and fractures. If used to strike the head area, this can cause serious injury or death.
- Shotguns. Shotguns are versatile weapons. They can fire rubber bullets, bean bag rounds, pepper balls, etc. With a special attachment on the end, shotguns are also used to fire tear gas canisters.
- Projectiles. Rubber bullets, bean bag rounds, concussion grenades, and other projectiles can cause painful welts, swelling, blunt trauma wounds, concussions, fractures, and even death (in some cases breaking bones that penetrate the heart and/or lungs). If a person is hit in the face with one of these projectiles, this can cause blindness, deafness, and other serious injuries.
- Tasers. Police frequently use tasers to immobilize individuals. Tasers resemble a pistol, often with a striped black and yellow design. They are carried on the front of the service belt. They can be fired from a distance (20-35′) or held up to a person. When fired, two small needles attached to the taser-pistol by fine wire cables are shot out. These small needles penetrate clothing or skin and discharge up to 50,000 volts of electricity, overwhelming the central nervous system and causing immediate incapacitation as all muscles tense up. Falling is a common response to being tasered. This initial shock lasts approximately 5 seconds. The shooter pressing the trigger can administer further shocks. Tensing up and resisting the shock only increases the effects, while relaxing makes recovery quicker. Tasers can be deadly.
- Patrol Vehicles. Police routinely use their patrol vehicles for riot control. This is done by driving the vehicles into a crowd, forcing its dispersal, or by blocking roads and streets. Patrol vehicles can be damaged with projectiles, by cutting the tires, blinded with paint bombs, etc. They can also be blocked with barricades.
- Water Cannons. Primarily used in very large riot control situations, water cannons are heavy trucks (sometimes armored) fitted with a small cannon used to spray streams of high-pressure water. The pressure of the water can be strong enough to knock an adult off their feet. Water cannons can be damaged by smashing the driver side windows (although some models of water cannon vehicles will have reinforced glass with metal cages). Molotovs and paint bombs can also be used against armored water cannons. Well-constructed barricades can block their path.
- Armored Vehicles. With the ongoing militarization of the police force, many departments now have armored vehicles. Police can obtain armored personnel carriers from the military, or even commandeer civilian armored cars used for transporting money. In a riot situation, armored vehicles are used to protect the enemy from projectiles, and to disperse, block and intimidate a crowd. Like other police vehicles, armored vehicles can be blocked with a well-constructed barricade. If forced to close all hatchets due to projectiles, vision ports can be paint-bombed. Molotovs can also be used to force vehicle abandonment.
- Frequency Wave Disruptors. Although not commonly used, frequency wave disruptors can be used to control large crowds. They emit a high-frequency screeching sound that disrupts the central nervous and audio systems, causing disorientation, dizziness, nausea, and vomiting. Destroying this device or moving out of range may be the best defense.
Riot Control Tactics. The function of riot-control tactics may be to make arrests, to stop entry into certain areas, to clear a crowd from a certain area, or to form a passage through a large crowd. Some tactics to be aware of include:
- Charges. Charges into a crowd are used to clear an area or create a passage. If police are equipped with tear gas, this is usually deployed prior to any charges. A common response to charges is to withdraw at a quick pace, especially if the crowd is smaller than the police forces. This should be done in a rapid but calm and confident manner, not with fear or panic. When the crowd outnumbers the police, the best response is a heavy barrage of projectiles to slow or break up the charge. However, if the police clearly outnumber the rioters, a calm, rapid withdrawal is the best decision. Withdraw can entail de-arresting people, returning tear gas projectiles, striking the enemy, assisting injured people, elderly or children to move out of the area, etc.
- Containment. In some cases, a commander may see it as practical to contain a crowd by surrounding it with officers who prevent anyone from leaving (also known as a “kettling” or “corralling”). Individuals are then arrested a few at a time or en masse. Another form of containment is forcing the crowd to move down streets, blocking all escape routes while leaving the desired route open.
- Snatch Squads. Snatch squads are small groups of officers (4-6) who are sent into a crowd to carry out arrests. They select their targets and move quickly to carry out the arrest. It may be possible to observe a snatch squad preparing for an arrest prior to their deployment and assess their intentions, i.e. movement of a group of police to the front of the police line, pointing out targeted individuals, etc. As soon as they are identified, snatch squads should be targeted with a heavy barrage of projectiles. When the snatch squad goes into the crowd to make arrests, a larger group of people must be ready to surround the snatch squad, attacking them to allow prisoners to escape.
- Undercover Officers. It is routine for police to insert undercover officers into a crowd to identify individuals, gather information, and/or carry out arrests. They may appear as bystanders or as protesters. At times they can be identified by communications gear (ear phones) or waist-packs (with their weapon, cuffs, etc. inside).
- Surveillance. Surveillance is an important part of riot control. It provides information to commanders on the size, direction and activities of the crowd and it can be used to track and monitor specific individuals. All of this can be used later to identify, arrest and convict individuals in the aftermath of the riot. In the days, weeks, and months following a riot, police often launch campaigns to identify rioters caught on surveillance and news footage. This is why it is important to wear a disguise, especially a mask.
(a) Surveillance of riots can occur through both physical and technical means. In physical surveillance, officers are positioned to observe the crowd from overlooking buildings, helicopters, on the street, or from within the crowd itself (undercover officers). Technical surveillance of riots is primarily carried out through video and still-cameras held by the police. Undercover officers often walk through crowds with hidden pinhole cameras. Other means of video surveillance include news footage, traffic surveillance cameras, civilian security-surveillance cameras, and footage posted on the internet.
(b) The best defense against surveillance and identification is a mask that covers your entire head and face (not just a bandana over your nose and mouth). Wearing two layers of contrasting clothing (taking the outer-layer off during withdrawal) can assist in escape and in countering surveillance. The wearing of uniform clothing (i.e. all black), by large numbers of people, can also counter surveillance.
Section II – Riot Tactics
Goals. The primary concern in a street riot should be countering the police; out-maneuvering them, disabling their vehicles, collecting and distributing projectiles, de-arresting people, neutralizing tear gas canisters, etc. Other important concerns may include administering first aid, inflicting damage to bourgeois institutions, expropriating resources from such institutions, evasion and escape, etc.
Principles. The enemy has a tremendous advantage in terms of resources and overall power. To compensate for this, rioters should avoid decisive combat with the enemy and instead rely on flexibility, mobility, knowledge of the environment, and political strategy.
- Flexibility. Adapt to circumstances as they unfold on the ground. If possible, have several contingency plans and change the plan of action in order to out-maneuver the enemy. Attack, withdraw, and reassemble in order to strike again and withdraw again.
- Mobility. Act fast, but strategically. Never remain static. Always stay on the move as the enemy reacts. Avoid prolonged action from fixed positions. Rioters cannot hold a specific area against a determined enemy attack.
- Knowledge of the Environment. If possible, thoroughly study the area of conflict—the location of police stations and surveillance cameras; sympathetic and hostile neighborhoods; highways, ports, and other strategic choke-points; construction sites for collecting projectiles and other equipment, etc. Study the irregularities of the spatial environment—its turns, abandoned buildings, thickets, alleyways, streets under repair, one-way streets, etc. This knowledge provides you with an advantage in flexibility and mobility.
- Political Strategy. Select targets which will galvanize support among poor and working people; do not attack the property of poor and working people. Build a network of support among prisoners, tenants, workers, etc. in order to generalize the revolutionary movement. Create and circulate media that garners support for the revolutionary cause.
Legal Support. As part of the planning process, take the time to coordinate with sympathetic lawyers, legal observers, and bail fund organizations who are willing to support people captured and harmed by the police. Locate community organizations that can provide bail and legal services and encourage people to write the phone number of these organizations on a piece of paper or on their body with a sharpie marker, so that they can call them in case of incarceration. If there isn’t already a local organization providing these resources, organize a fund to bail out arrestees and provide a phone number that people can call.
Mass Organizing. Riots cannot succeed in the long run unless they connect with struggles among workers, tenants, prisoners, and other movements. Before, during, and after the riot, insurgents should build political support for revolutionary tactics among as many people as possible. This can take the form of flyers, pamphlets, tabling, art, meetings, speaking at rallies, etc. Insurgents and their supporters doing this kind of political work should be careful to conceal their connections with the revolutionary underground.
Units. As isolated individuals, rioters are much more vulnerable to arrest and far less capable of carrying out actions. For this reason, rioters should organize themselves into small teams, or units. Depending on the circumstances of the riot and the plan of action, units can be as small as two people or as big as six or more.
- Each unit should have a particular task or set of tasks—to neutralize tear gas canisters; to de-arrest people; to collect, assemble, transport, and distribute projectiles; to distribute masks; to attack the police and sabotage their vehicles; to sabotage and loot capitalist property; to provide first aid; to listen to police frequencies, etc. Of course, contingencies will arise, and revolutionaries should be prepared to change their plan of action.
- Each unit should devise a code-name that applies to the entire unit, so that if an insurgent becomes separated from their unit, she can call out the unit code-name to locate other members (who respond with the code-name, in a call-and-response fashion).
Essential Riot Gear.
- Ski mask (or other kind of mask that will conceal your identity).
- Functioning gas mask, or eye goggles/filter mask or bandana soaked in vinegar.
- Uniform clothing, i.e. all black (with civilian under-layer to aid in escape and evasion).
- Rain coat or plastic poncho (for defense against chemical agents).
- Thick gloves (for protection of hands when neutralizing tear gas canisters).
- Body armor (minimum: forearm and shin guards).
- Squirt bottles filled with saline-solution, or milk of magnesia mixed 50/50 with water, or other decontaminant.
- Water and energy bars.
- Buckets filled with water (for neutralizing tear gas canisters).
- Crowbar or hammer (for digging up and smashing pavement and/or bricks for making projectiles, and for opening windows, doors, etc.).
- Back-pack (to carry tools and gear).
- Shield (can be made out of plastic trash cans).
- Police radio scanner (for access to police communications).
Reconnaissance of the Riot Area. If the riot zone is known or estimated beforehand, a reconnaissance mission should be carried out to study the physical terrain, potential targets, obstacles, danger areas, entry/escape routes, etc. Make a mental and physical map of the area. The identification of routes in and out of the riot zone is especially important. These include side streets, alleyways, malls, vacant buildings, residential areas, trails, forests, etc.
Rallying Points. Identify one or more rallying points in case you get separated from your unit. Rallying points should be established outside of the riot zone and should provide concealment, or an excuse for loitering, such as a park. Designated times should be made for vehicle pickup. A method of signaling should also be devised, for example, whistling or the flashing of headlights.
Listening to Police Frequencies. Police radio scanners can be acquired in order to listen in on police communications. An off-site unit can be tasked with keeping track of police communications regarding their whereabouts, maneuvers, and plans.
Clothing. The best defense against identification and later arrest is a good mask that covers most of your face, including your forehead, like a ski mask, or Balaclava mask, a makeshift shirt-mask, or a combination of items, like a hoodie, a baseball cap, and bandana. Try to cover as much skin as possible; wear pants, long sleeved shirts, gloves, etc. Wear clothing with uniform colors in order to limit the ability of police surveillance to identify and track you. Do not wear clothing with logos or insignia. Wear different clothing as an under-layer to the riot uniform. This way, the outer uniform can be quickly removed and discarded to make you appear like a bystander. Be careful about where you change your clothes/take off your mask.
Protective Gear for Chemical Agents. The first indicators that chemical agents will be used are: the sight of spray canisters in police hands, cops putting on gas masks, and/or the positioning of gunners to launch tear gas. If there is the potential for exposure to chemical agents, and protective gear is not already being worn, it should be put on immediately. During the planning stage, remind people to not wear lotion; it absorbs pepper spray and other chemicals. (For first aid techniques, see First Aid for Tear Gas and Pepper Spray.)
- Gas Masks. The best defense against chemical agents is a military-issue gas mask. Make sure the filters are new and unused, with unbroken seals. These can sometimes be purchased from military surplus stores, however, it must be kept in mind that the filters on typical surplus gas masks are inoperable. To avoid this, make sure the filter canister is not expired. Also, make sure the mask fits and forms an airtight seal on your face. Also, make sure you know how to operate your mask before using it in a riot situation; this means knowing how to adjust it and clear it.
- Filter Masks and Goggles. If gas masks are not obtainable, the next best things are chemical filters, which are available at hardware stores. These cover the nose and mouth. Because the eyes are still exposed, clear, airtight fitting goggles must also be worn over the eyes.
- Bandana Soaked in Vinegar w/ Goggles. If gas masks and filter masks are not available, a bandana soaked in vinegar or lemon juice is the next best thing. Along with the bandana, eye goggles must also be worn. Carry a bottle of vinegar or lemon juice to keep the bandanas wet.
- Rain Gear or Poncho. Along with facial protection, raincoats or plastic ponchos can help protect you from chemical agents. Shirt collars, cuffs, and pants bottoms can also be sealed with string or tape.
- Thick Gloves. Thick gloves that can resist heat (leather ones, thick gardening gloves, oven mitts, etc.) should be worn to handle tear gas canisters (to protect your hands from heat and chemical exposure).
Neutralizing Tear Gas. When tear gas canisters are thrown or fired into your area, you can kick them back at the police or use thick gloves to pick them up and throw them back at the police. However, sometimes tear gas canisters can explode upon impact or shortly after, so wait 5 seconds before picking them up. You can also submerge the canister in a bucket of water to neutralize the tear gas (mix 3 tbsp. of baking soda per liter of water). Other techniques include: spraying tear gas with a fire extinguisher until it goes out; covering tear gas with a traffic cone (with the tip cut off) and pouring water mixed with baking soda into the hole.
Moving Through the Streets. Take an easy pace, and don’t run unless absolutely necessary. Make sure to stay with your unit at all times, especially when leaving the riot area. Don’t let yourself get cornered; do not engage in stationary warfare. When moving through traffic, go in the opposite direction of traffic (it’s harder for the police to follow).
Moving Through Large Crowds. At times, crowd density may be so great as to limit movement as a unit. To move through a thick crowd as a team, place one hand on the shoulder of the person in front and do not allow the chain to be broken. Move in single file. If you are detached from your unit, call out the unit code-name to alert team members.
Withdrawal. Always identify and recheck your exit route. Rioters cannot hold a fixed location for long before enough enemy reinforcements arrive to overpower the rioters. By this time the rioters should have already dispersed and moved on to another location. Depending on the situation, it might be necessary to fight the enemy in order to escape (to this end, insurgents should practice escaping from arm holds and locks). At the first secure point (i.e., sheltered from any police observation or video surveillance), rioters should remove their outer layers and protective gear and dispose of all their riot gear (preferably in a hidden location). Rioters should fix their hair and overall appearance and review their cover story (explaining what they are doing in the area, their destination, etc.).
Resisting Containment. When the police encircle a place where rioters are gathered, people must not give up. Look for openings and irregularities in the police line and concentrate forces there in order to break out of the encirclement. Prioritize helping non-combatants escape, especially children and the elderly.
De-arrests. People can be freed from police capture by shooting mace in the arresting officer’s face; by pulling them away from the police by sheer force; by opening the door of a police vehicle to let arrestees escape; by body-checking or drop-kicking the arresting officer; by landing a well-timed blow to the head of an arresting officer.
- Batons. Batons can be used to defend yourself and others against the enemy. In some situations, it is not possible to enter an area carrying these. However, sometimes wooden sticks can be carried covertly as part of banners and flags.
- Pepper Spray/Bear Spray. Pepper spray or bear spray can be used against the enemy. Be careful not to use it in a confined space, since everyone, including fellow rioters, will be affected.
- Paint Bombs. Paint bombs can be thrown at police helmet visors, gas masks, shields, and police car windshields to obstruct their view. Carry the paint bombs in egg cartons or in containers filled with crumbled newspapers or another form of stuffing that will prevent breakage. There are several methods of preparing paint bombs, including:
(a) Condoms. The simplest method is to fill condoms with paint and tie off the top. Use a funnel. When throwing, use an overhand technique with enough force to break the condom on impact.
(b) Light Bulbs. Take a light bulb and carefully puncture a small hole on top (no more than half-an-inch in diameter). Add paint using a funnel. Seal the top of the bulb using a small piece of cardboard or plastic, taped over the top, or candle wax. The light bulb paint bomb can be thrown with greater accuracy but does not carry the paint load of the condom bomb.
- Barricades. Barricades are obstacles placed on streets, roads, stairs, hallways, entrances to buildings, etc. in order to block, impede and canalize the movement of people and goods. If possible, barricades should block the smallest passage (not the widest), at irregular points in the terrain, and look down at the enemy (never up). For example, on top of hills, at turns in the road, on steep narrow streets, etc. To barricade a path, use whatever materials are available: trash cans, fences, chairs, tables, shelving, tires, blocks of wood and cement, broken doors, fridges, washers, cabinets, sofas, cars, etc. Construction sites provide lots of materials for barricades.
- Burning Barricades. In some situations, it might be more effective to set the barricades on fire. This can be a useful tactic if the barricade is in danger of being dismantled. So that a barricade can be ignited, make sure that flammable materials are placed among the barricade: wood, paper, and fuel. If fuel is used, throw a torch onto the barricade in order to avoid getting burned.
- Spike Board. A spike board can be used to impede (though not block) oncoming vehicles by puncturing the tires. Large metal nails and spikes are driven through a board long enough to cover the width of the street. The spikes face up into the air. To move the board, a rope is attached to one end.
- Slingshots. Slingshots can be used to launch small rocks or marbles, especially at the police, their vehicle windshields and windows. Rioters using slingshots should carry a bag of small projectiles with them. When using against enemy personnel, aim at the face.
- Projectiles. Whenever a barricade or temporary position is established, the gathering, assembly, and distribution of projectiles should be ongoing. Throwing objects at the enemy can injure, slow down, and have a psychological impact.
(a) Rocks. Fist-sized rocks can be thrown with accuracy and force at a distance of 40-50 feet. They can cause serious damage, whether to police or to property. When throwing them at the police, aim at the head and upper body. Insurgents should have rocks in bags or stashed at certain points and/or near barricade sites.
(b) Concrete/Bricks. Bricks can often be located near construction sites, and concrete dug up, to be used as projectiles. Large concrete chunks and bricks should be smashed up with a crowbar or hammer to make smaller throwing pieces.
(d) Paint-bomb. Can be used to obstruct police vision (see above).
(e) Molotovs. Can be used against cops to injure them, to stop their advance, to disable their vehicles, and to set fire to barricades. The best Molotov cocktails are made from combinations of gasoline and motor oil (1/3rd oil, 2/3rds gasoline). The fire will stick to surfaces better if little bits of styrofoam are also included in the Molotov mixture. For greater effect, the Molotovs should be thrown at the front of an advancing police force. Gasoline, motor oil, bottles, funnels, and rags should be on hand to construct molotovs.
(f) Flares. Flares that shoot out can be used to fire on police, causing panic, confusion, and possible injuries. The best are pen-type flare launchers.
(g) Fireworks. Roman candles and other shooting fireworks can be used to fire on police. Some fireworks, such as “Screecheroos” can be modified to make flash-bang grenades.
(h) Bottles. Empty bottles thrown at the police have an intimidating effect when they shatter. Flying glass shards can cause injury. Aim for the ground directly in front of the riot cops, or aim at the head. Throw the bottle using the neck of the bottle.
(i) Marbles. Marbles can be launched from slingshots. A large amount of marbles can also be thrown on the ground towards the enemy in order to make the enemy slip and fall. Police horses are especially susceptible to slipping on marbles.
Launching Projectiles. Despite their heavy armor, police are vulnerable to the accumulated physical and psychological effects of projectiles. Primary targets for projectiles are: commanders, snatch squads, K9 units, and gunners who fire tear gas, rubber bullets, etc. In the absence of a police presence, other targets include corporate businesses, government buildings, etc.
Projectiles should be launched from the front of a crowd, never the rear. This is to prevent injury to the front ranks should your throw be too low or short. Projectiles should be aimed at single targets, not just thrown at a mass. Targets directly in front of you may see your action and avoid the projectile. Throw at an angle that is to the left or right of the target and you will more likely catch a riot cop off guard.
Sabotage. Sabotage is the destruction of enemy vehicles, offices, stores, equipment, etc. Sabotage should be directed at strategic targets—tires, windshields, windows, glass doors, computers, cash registers, ATM’s, etc. Focus on corporate businesses and ruling class institutions. Keep in mind that glass doors cost more to replace than windows. Tipping or throwing over machinery/equipment may be sufficient to disable it. Set off fire alarms and sprinkler systems (water damage).
Looting. Looting is the taking of material resources from offices, stores, warehouses, etc. Looting should be planned if possible, with targets and methods of gaining entry pre-selected. Insurgents should bring the tools they need to gain entry (i.e., crowbar, sledgehammer, bolt cutters, etc.). Careful reconnaissance of the target area beforehand will provide crucial information. It is also important to devise a plan for covertly getting looted goods out of a riot zone.
First Aid. Every riot force should have a unit in charge of first aid. First aid for riots should stress treatment for:
- Blunt Trauma Wounds. Treat cuts with antiseptic and dressing bandages. Treat bruising and swelling with cold packs to reduce swelling.
- Fractures. Immobilize the fracture with splints and slings.
- Sprains. Immobilize with tensor elastic bandage, or treat as fracture if unsure.
- Chemical agents. See First Aid for Tear Gas and Pepper Spray.
- Burns. Wash burns with clean water and apply sterile-gauze dressing.
- Dehydration. Have plenty of clean water on hand.
Incarceration. If incarcerated during large riot situations, the normal routine of processing (fingerprinting, photographing, etc.) may be prolonged due to the large numbers of arrests. Special detention centers may be set up (in abandoned military bases, warehouses, etc.). If you are injured medical assistance may be delayed. When large numbers of prisoners are held, it is easy for undercover police to pose as fellow prisoners in order to gather information.
Debriefing. After a riot, like any insurgent action, it is necessary to debrief as soon as it is safe to do so, in order to review the action and conduct, what worked and what didn’t, how things could be done better, to share what each unit member observed and experienced, etc. The more time that passes from the time of the action to debriefing, the less detail will be remembered.