By Oisin Ó’Rímheá.
The powers that be want one thing; control. They want you to fear them; they want you to fear what there about, there power, they want to use it to control you. What they seem to forget it that we have the power, this is our game and it is fought by our rules; if they dont play by our rules then; like us, they should be taught how to play. Among the Irish people there has always been a certain faith within the garda to keep us safe. Well over the last 10 years that has plummeted to next to nothing. No one with a right mind feels safe around a garda. There bully tactics are no longer taken lightly. How are we as a people supposed to protect our self’s against them? Get organized; there is 30,000 garda in Ireland and 4 million plus of us. We out number them, even at demonstrations, we out number them? How can we fight back whilst remaining within the bonds of the law? How can we fight back and frighten the back bone of our government? How can we defend our self against out ever more aggressive police force? Here is one tactic that can be used, which is used world wide and is being used in London right now. Its called The Black Bloc:
The Black Bloc has gained alot of publicity in the past two years. What people dont understand is that the Black Bloc is not an organization or a group. It is a tactic. It helps reinforce security and execute our goal in the presence of high-profile demonstrations. From Seattle WTO to the most recent action in Genoa and in the UK these coming weeks, the Black Bloc has certainly been the main focus by the media and the police in major demonstrations. Therefore, it is necessary to introduce newer and better tactics into the struggle. Be creative. Build off the info on this site and never give up.
So What Is A Black Bloc?
The Black Bloc is a tactic that has been used in demonstrations for years. It is used as a security and safety measure. In it’s essential form, each participant of a Black Bloc wears somewhat of a uniform. The idea of wearing this uniform is that if every single person in the Bloc looks relatively alike, it is hard for the police to determine which individual did what. For instance, if a Black Bloc participant throws a brick at a store window and runs into the Bloc, she will easily blend in with everyone else. However, if a person wearing normal street clothes happens to throw a brick and run into the Bloc, chances are that she will have been filmed or photographed and later caught by the police.
Also, since Anarchist presence has been a very hot issue in the past few years, law enforcement has been known to film and take photos of random activists and keep files on those individuals. This can lead to problems in the future. It’s better to be safe than in jail.
The clothing worn by Black Bloc participants is very easy to acquire. You may even have these clothes in your own home. Any logos or patches must be removed one way or another to have any effect in using the Black Bloc tactic.
Black Hooded Sweatshirt-The black hooded sweatshirt offers great protection in many ways. It protects the back of the neck and sides of the head from pepper spray and other chemical agents. Police often occupy rooftops and use helicopters in order to gain overhead perspective when filming and photographing the Bloc. The hooded sweatshirt helps protect you from these perspectives by covering your head and therefore making it difficult to draw any distinctions. Again, all logos, patches, or anything else that can help the police distinguish you from anyone else should be removed or left at home.
Black Trousers-Average black workers pants are fine. Black military-style cargo pants are extremely recommended. The cargo pockets can hold any items of use that you may have. Also, the ties on the side are great for de-bloc’ing. All distinguishing characteristics must be removed.
Runners-A good pair of runners are the best investment here. Big heavy boots may be difficult to leave the scene in. However, this is just a recommendation.
Masks-One of the most important aspects of the uniform. The mask you wear should show nothing more than your eyes. We advise that you DO NOT wear a mask that will give you tunnel vision, like a cat; that is, a mask that will cut off your vision from what is beside you. There are many different kinds of recommended masks:
Ski Mask-A simple, inexpensive find at any sporting goods or army-navy store. We recommend the masks that only have holes for your eyes. However, if you can only find the kind with the three holes (two for the eyes, one for the mouth) then that will work. Just take a black piece of cloth and fill the hole. Bandanna-An average black bandanna that is tied around your mouth will work too. When choosing this mask, please wear something over the top part of your head, such as a beanie or another bandanna. If your hair and rest of your upper head are exposed, it is not hard to tell who you are.
Gas Mask-A slightly more expensive mask, yet a useful one if you plan on engaging in some heavy street combat. Tear gas is a widely used deterrent in street battles, and we should not be forced to turn away from our goal because of some gas. However, we feel that in most cases the ones wearing the gas masks are the ones throwing the gas canisters back. Wearing a gas mask is an illegal practice and should be worn with caution. Homemade Mask-Homemade masks are easy to construct. You can use an old black t-shirt and wrap the fabric around your face. You can also cut off the sleeves and put those around your face. Be creative!
Unless you’ve been living in a primitive mud hut your entire life, you know that going to demonstrations comes with the chance of arrest, especially with the Black Bloc. Unarresting is the practice of pulling our comrades back into safety from the arms of the officers.
Unarresting is a serious topic that needs to be discussed and practiced. It works best when we act fearless and the police are outnumbered. Here are some scenarios and possible solutions when unarresting:
Most Blocs use the tactic of linking arms. This way, when an officer tries to pull one of us away, it makes it difficult to pull the individual from the arms of another participant.
Often times, a demonstrator will get isolated from the group and suddenly be taken by an officer. Make sure that you and your affinity are on alert at all times for possible stragglers. Dont let anyone stray from the group! If someone does happen to stray and be detained, there are some things you can do if you act quickly. Quickly let everyone know what is happening and have your affinity run to the area of the situation. If the cop does not back away by the time you arrive to this situation, your group can fall on top of the person like a dog pile and more people will gather around the situation. Make sure you do not harm the person you are attempting to unarrest. You can also get a few people to simply pull him away from the officer. Remember! Unarresting someone is a very risky circumstance. In some cases, you can be given a harsher charge than the person you are unarresting. Be smart. Dont get caught!
These days, police use the plastic zip ties instead of handcuffs for the basic reason that they are too expensive. When you go to a demonstration, put some fingernail clippers in your back pocket or an accessible place on your body. When the time is right, simply cut the ties and run like hell!
Police Tactics and How To Defeat Them
The local, state and federal governments have unlimited tax dollars to use to control crowds at demonstrations and insurrections. We must develop ways to combat these technologies, and although we are in reality in a fight against technology, it would be naive to think we can use spears against these maniacs. Therefore, we need to find ways to eliminate police tactics. The following information are some common used tactics and best effective ways to beat them.
Riot Cop Gear and Equipment
To crush protests, police departments all over the world have invented countless methods. Some are new, others only adaptations of battle tactics from the ancient times. Just as importantly, new and much improved equipment has been issued to riot police squads, making them nearly unstoppable. On the right you can see how a regular American riot cop looked like at Seattle. In most European countries, similar equipment is used, although full body armor is not standard yet, therefore Plexiglas shields are used.
Much like a renaissance knight, a modern riot cop is wearing full body armor, heavy boots and a large helmet completely encasing the head and neck. He is practically invulnerable even to the hardest punches and kicks, as well as moderately protected against fire. Armed with a long baton and those killer boots, he can attack aggressively and efficiently.
What makes such a riot cop really effective, though, is constant radio communication. As you can see from the picture, each cop has two radio sets, one in the helmet and another for backup. This allows the riot police to coordinate their moves and sweep the streets with ease. If extra firepower is necessary, they can fire tear gas, rubber bullets or even deploy armored vehicles and water cannons.
Police Tactics and Their Defeat
Anyone with some knowledge of history can clearly see that most crowd control tactics are simply copied from ancient warfare. Riot police fight much like a Macedonian phalanx would back in 330 BC. There are adaptations, of course, but the basic concept is the same, meaning that similar countermeasures that had caused the demise of the phalanx as a military unit would have a similar effect if deployed nowadays against the police.Most of the time, riot police are deployed in a long line formation, usually standing in front of important buildings or blocking streets. When these line formations are present, they are usually just one man deep, especially when they stand to protect property.
These line formations only work when each officer is standing side by side to each other. When dealing with narrow paths and small sidewalks, large obstacles (barricades) will split these line formations and cause their entire formation to fall apart. When line formations have already formed, you can run your line into theirs.If they feel threatened, they can increase the distance between them and the protesters by firing tear gas, stun grenades and rubber bullets. Tear gas and pepper spray are also used to disperse crowds or at least soften them up prior to an attack. This where gas masks and shields come in. The police will not disperse any chemical agents unless they are wearing gas masks themselves. If they are wearing masks, and the Bloc is less than 20 feet away from the police formation, they will not fire tear gas canisters because it may be damaging to the officers’ safety. They will however disperse pepper spray.
To protect yourself from being directly hit with pepper spray, shields are a good idea. When pepper spray is dispersed in an area, it can cause lung and throat difficulties to everyone surrounding it, even if they have not been directly sprayed. For this, a large cloth soaked in vinegar works great. Make sure that you carry plenty of water. When you are sprayed or gassed, pour lots of water over the exposed area. Gas masks are another alternative, yet are not always safe, being that they are illegal and can get you a nice conspiracy charge. In attack, the line formation usually advances only after tear gas has been fired. On the move, policemen tend to march fairly slowly, not just because of the heavy armor but because they have to maintain the original formation at all costs. Only if the protesters are fleeing the scene will they sometimes try to chase them down.
First of all, it soon became apparent that no government could suppress large-scale protests just with the elite riot police. Their equipment was just too expensive and inevitably, regular police forces had to be called in as well. Of course, riot police was always tasked with guarding only the vital objectives while the regular police would normally just perform less important duty. Protesters would often take advantage of that and split themselves in two groups. One would attack the poorly defended positions by hurling rocks and firebombs. Since regular police could not sustain that for any longer period of time, the riot police would have to come to their aid. Then the second group of protesters would attack the now much weakened main objectives and possibly seize them. If more aggressive approach was desired, one group of protesters would lead the police in a trap by making a quick assault and falling back immediately afterwards, as if fleeing the scene. The police would usually pursue them haphazardly, falling easy prey to a flanking attack of other protesters who would suddenly rush out from side streets.
Barricades are a great tool in creating chaos in the streets. When line formations start to advance on the Bloc, or when vehicles are called in (like the armored tank in Seattle), barricades are a great way to stop them. Barricades can be created out of just about anything. In the past, the concrete has been torn from the ground and piled up in the streets. Construction sites have those neat little barricades that can be stolen at night time. Take one and add your own things to it: barbed wire, bricks, basically anything that is heavy. You can also liberate police barricades from the scene and pile them up. Cars can be wonderful barricades and can be easily set on fire. Once again, be creative. Its not that hard to make a wonderful barricade.
At all demonstrations, it’s often that people are picked up on the way from an action. This has become a big problem. When leaving a demonstration, you should always leave wearing something different than how you came. Even if you have done nothing illegal, a pig can always pull you over and arrest you based on Conspiracy. These charges can hold up, especially if they find something on your person that can be interpreted as something that can be used for illegal purposes.